West Ham skipper hails ‘fantastic’ team after Bournemouth win
PUBLISHED: 10:30 23 August 2016
Seven injured players did not help the Hammers cause, but Mark Noble was happy with the display
It wasn’t pretty or classy and certainly not easy, but for a West Ham struck down by injuries, victory over Bournemouth was one thing – priceless.
Fans must have feared the worst when news filtered through of injuries to Andy Carroll and Dimitri Payet. Add to those who were already on the treatment table and some might have been excused had they simply turned round and made the walk back to Stratford station.
But skipper Mark Noble, the heart of this team, was full of praise for the side as they came through with a late goal.
“You will miss seven players, but when it is seven of your best players, it starts to hurt you,” he said after the 1-0 win.
“Winning 1-0 is the greatest win in football. A clean sheet, we scored a late goal, the fans were buzzing and in the end I think we deserved it – the lads were fantastic.”
With no Carroll to aim at and no Payet to run the show, West Ham had to work for every ball and they had to play some football and it just about worked.
In truth, Bournemouth looked the most likely to nick it with Adrian making two top quality saves and Winston Reid making a great block, but it was West Ham’s persistence that paid off in the 85th minute when Michail Antonio met Gokhan Tore’s cross to head in from close range.
“I loved it out there,” said Noble. “It was really enjoyable. I thought the atmosphere was great. It is different, I am not going to lie to you. We have this new fantastic stadium, but you still have to get the points on the board.”
They did just that and it was a pleasurable three points, what with expectations being so low because of the injuries.
When Bournemouth did threaten, and that was not very often, then the defence and Adrian coped admirably.
Tore continues to improve as his match fitness does, Sam Byram had a better game, but got booked yet again, while Enner Valencia gave his all in attack, but is clearly not a replacement for Carroll up front.
Antonio, though, thrived further forward and that proved vital on the day, while Jonathan Calleri could have rounded things off when Noble put him clean through in injury time.
He seemed to do everything right, cutting across the defender cleverly, but somehow rolled his shot wide of the post.
“I was gutted for him,” said Noble. “It is always nice to score your first goal in the Premier League. I know he can finish because I’ve seen him on YouTube and I’ve seen him in training.
“I am sure he is going to score for us soon though.”
West Ham finished this game with two young strikers on the field and Reece Oxford and Reece Burke sitting on the bench.
It seems that the squad is down to the bare bones at the moment, but it just makes this win all the more important with the trip to Manchester City coming up on Sunday.
“You ain’t just going to roll over teams here. We hardly did that last season and we had a great season,” concluded the skipper.
He’s right, but at least the team is off the mark.