Mark Noble: The only thing on my mind is winning games
For captain Mark Noble, the sole focus of the remaining few weeks of the Premier League season is winning enough games to ensure West Ham United’s status in the top flight.
The Irons return to action on Wednesday evening with a London derby against Chelsea, with the Hammers looking to acquire valuable points in the battle to avoid the drop.
Despite David Moyes’ side being handed a tough run of fixtures, losing to two top-seven sides in their first two games since the restart, Noble says that morale in the West Ham camp is still high as the team look to returning to winning ways against the Blues.
For the skipper, everything is fixated on getting enough points in the bag to remain a Premier League team.
The main thing on my mind right now is just staying up. I don’t care who plays as long as the team wins and we get to that point.
“The spirit in the squad is really good,” Noble told the Evening Standard. “Obviously, you’ve got players that are upset they’re not playing in the team and I do think the manager is going to need to make some changes in the coming weeks and use the whole squad.
“The main thing on my mind right now is just staying up. I don’t care who plays as long as the team wins and we get to that point. It’s enough for me. I really think if we can get two or three wins then we will be fine.”
The Irons have enjoyed a brief week without a match, during which Noble and his teammates have trained vigorously for the Chelsea fixture, but West Ham subsequently head into a busy period of four games in the next ten days.
With that spell followed by even more close matches, Noble knows that picking up victories in those games is essential.
He continued: “I think, for your body, having that week has probably helped, but now we have four games and it’s four games that define our season in terms of whether we’re going to be safe or not. I think we definitely need a couple of wins out of these games.”
One player who the Irons will not be calling on in the coming fixtures is Pablo Zabaleta, who has departed the Club at the end of his contract this summer, along with Carlos Sanchez and Jeremy Ngakia.
Having worked with the Argentinian for the last three years, Noble was full of praise for the defender’s attitude and experience, hailing Zabaleta’s impact on the West Ham dressing room during his time in east London.
“It’s a real shame [to see Zabaleta go],” Noble added. “Sometimes you get someone late in their career who comes and just takes the money and lives in London and doesn’t give the Club anything, but Zaba came in and gave the Club everything in every game.
“He has been great around the changing room and a great person to be around.”