Mark Noble: This West Ham United squad has a bit of everything
Mark Noble says he is a lot easier to live with this season – and he wants things to stay that way!
The lifelong West Ham United fan freely admits his mood is shaped by how the Club is performing and, with the Hammers sitting fourth in the Premier League table with just eight games to play, Noble is feeling happy and positive, much to his family’s relief!
With Declan Rice sidelined with a lateral knee ligament injury, the captain returned to the team at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Easter Monday, where he produced a performance full of experience, commitment and no little ability to help his side secure a thrilling 3-2 victory.
The Irons went three goals up inside 40 minutes for the second game in a row but, having allowed Arsenal to come back to draw 3-3 last time out, held off Wolves’ fightback to claim all three points and rise back up into the UEFA Champions League places.
Next up, David Moyes’ squad welcome third-place Leicester City to London Stadium on Sunday for the top-flight's game of the weekend, and Noble should mark the occasion by making his record 400th Premier League appearance in Claret and Blue.
Speaking to West Ham TV at Molineux after Monday’s win, the No16 had this to say…
Mark, you’ve played 399 Premier League games now, but not many would have been as exciting as that!
“It was a great game of football, especially the first 40 minutes! It was really, really good. Jesse Lingard was fantastic, Arthur Masuaku came in with an assist, Pablo Fornals produced a great finish and it’s just the goal before half-time let us down again. I tried to foul Adama Traoré [in the build—up] but he was too quick for me! Then Vlad and Jesse were chasing him back but it’s hard because he’s so quick and powerful.
“Then in the second half, sometimes it’s tough when you’re two or three goals ahead to actually keep going because you think you’ve got such a lead and then they scored their second goal.
“We were a bit unlucky with Tom’s handball [before he scored what would have been the Hammers’ fourth goal] because that would have put the game to bed, but the boys were great and it’s another good win on the road.”
You’ve played in a lot of good West Ham teams, but this one must be up there with the best?
“I think it’s got a bit of everything. If I’m being picky about it, I’d have liked us to play better in the second half, especially here and against Arsenal, but that’s just me because I want the team to get better again. But when you look at the first half and how well we played, we blew them away for 40 minutes.
“Mikey was a big loss for us after we lost Dec in the week, which was obviously a massive kick in the teeth for us because not only is he one of the best players in the country at minute in his position, but probably in world football. I think he’s that good and we need to get him back as quickly as possible.”
David Moyes said the current situation is ‘magic’ – he’s loving it!
“I bet he is – we all are! After he came back, the boss and I sat down and had a meeting and we had to survive relegation and we did that through some of the toughest times this country has seen and to have the season we’ve had, it’s obviously a shame the fans haven’t been with us.
“From the messages I’ve been getting, though, they are with us at home for sure and we just need to keep rolling on.
“We need to train this week like we have done and play a fantastic Leicester side because they are a really good team. We played well against them away this season and we need to play the same like that again and take our form to them.”
You often say that when we’re struggling you’re hard to live with, so you must be great to be around at home these days!
“My Dad says to me ‘I’ve never seen you so happy!’. It’s nice, it’s enjoyable, but I think we’re at the stage now with single-figure games left and we need to keep pushing and see where we can come.
“Every game for us now is a bonus. We’ve done a fantastic job and let’s hope we can create something special.”