West Ham skipper: Marko just needed to be loved’
PUBLISHED: 13:00 15 January 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers captain Mark Noble is on target as West Ham move up to 11th in Premier League
West Ham skipper Mark Noble took his tally for the club to 49 on Saturday at Huddersfield and the fact that it wasn’t a penalty was especially pleasing.
“I do say to the boys that if you get me into those positions, I don’t usually panic,” he said after the 4-1 win.
“But I am the one who is usually breaking the play up to get the boys in those positions.
“Marko did fantastic to close the defender down and once I got my chance I knew exactly what I was going to do and it was lovely to see it hit the back of the net.
“To be honest, it was nice not have a penalty, I forgot how to do it from open play!”
Noble’s goal was cancelled out by Joe Lolley’s equaliser before the break, but it was the Arnautovic goal within seconds of the restart that gave West Ham the impetus to go and win the match.
“You don’t get many of them from the kick-off and it was a fantastic finish,” said the skipper. “I said in the changing room at half time we were sloppy with the ball in the first half going forward, but the second half was a very different kettle of fish.
“Every time we went forward we looked dangerous. Marko had pace and power and Manu (Lanzini) with his ability.
“It is quite a partnership, when we can get them playing like that together and keep fit,” he continued. “We have got me, Kouyate and Obiang backing them up from behind and the back five is looking really strong, so it is good to be a part of it at the moment.”
The biggest plus has been the form and attitude of Arnautovic since the arrival of Moyes, so what does Noble put that down to?
“I just think it is confidence, as he has scored a couple of goals,” said the 30-year-old Canning Town-born West Ham fan.
“Marko needs to feel loved. He is a great character believe it or not and a good person to have around.
“The crowd are with him now, he is scoring goals for the team and you couldn’t get any better.”
Noble is showing that he too has plenty left to offer the team, both as a player and a leader.
So is he looking upwards or over his shoulder at the table now?
“I think we have to keep the same mindset,” he insisted. “We were struggling and the beginning of the season and there was talk about a relegation fight and can we stay up?
“I still believe we can think like that as that little bit of fear drives you on.”
Manager David Moyes has certainly instilled a new belief into this side. He has kick-started Arnautovic’s career at West Ham and that is not all.
“I think he has made a difference to everyone,” said Noble. “It is his belief that has helped and he has brought a stillness to the team and we look good for it.
“Our form and the way we have played and defended against Huddersfield was fantastic and I thought we fully deserved it.”