Mark Noble was typically honest in his assessment of West Ham United’s 4-1 Premier League defeat at Leicester City.
The Hammers were made to pay for a slow start, conceding an early opener to Harvey Barnes, before Ricardo Pereira’s strike in the fifth minute of first half added time doubled the Foxes’ lead before half-time.
Noble himself halved the deficit from the penalty spot within five minutes of the restart after Sebastien Haller had been fouled and the introduction of Michail Antonio meant the Irons carried a far greater threat after the break.
However, a penalty from Ayoze Perez nine minutes from the end put the game beyond David Moyes’ side, before the same player compounded West Ham’s misery with a late fourth.
There is no point standing here and lying. They were the better team and once they got that third goal, which came from a mistake, there was no way back for us
“Obviously going 2-0 down just before the break was a kick in the teeth and we came out and got a goal straight away and then, for 15 or 20 minutes, we were in the game,” Noble told Premier League Productions. “We had a couple of chances from corner kicks and then [they won and scored] the penalty and after that it was finished.
“They’re a good side. They do move the ball well and they make it hard for you. I think if we’d have got anything it would have been a bit lucky, if anything, because we didn’t play that well.
“But we’re still in the game at 2-1 and probably should have gone in [at half-time] at 1-0. I thought there was a foul in the corner which the referee didn’t give, but listen, we weren’t good enough and we didn’t deserve to win.
“I thought Leicester were the better team. There is no point standing here and lying. They were the better team and once they got that third goal, which came from a mistake, there was no way back for us.”
After a forgettable opening half, Antonio’s return from a hamstring problem at the interval gave West Ham renewed impetus as Moyes switched from a 5-3-1-1 formation to a 4-4-2 system.
However, the addition of Robert Snodgrass to an injury list that already includes Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, Lukasz Fabianski and Jack Wilshere means Noble and his fit teammates will need to raise their levels even higher to dig West Ham out of relegation trouble.
“Mick brings a different option, a bit of pace, and we lacked that in the first half and we couldn’t get out,” the captain continued. “He came on and changed it a little bit for us.
“At the minute, we have obviously lost Felipe, Snods looks like he’s hurt himself and hopefully he won’t be out for too long, Ryan Fredericks we’ve got out, Yarmolenko, Jack; these are big players for us who we’ve got out. If you have a look at our bench tonight, if the gaffer looks behind him, he’s got five defenders on the bench.
“But listen, there is still a long way to go and there are still a lot of points to play for and this game and this league changes so often, so we’ll stick at it. We’ve got a tough three or four weeks coming up but we need to stick together.”