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West Ham’s Noble: We were a better team than Spurs

Barclays Premier League: West Ham United v Tottenham Spurs Barclays Premier League: West Ham United v Tottenham Spurs

Monday, August 18, 2014
1:18 PM

Dejected Hammers midfielder was impressed with the team performance against Tottenham

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Barclays Premier League: West Ham United v Tottenham. Mark Noble on the ball.Barclays Premier League: West Ham United v Tottenham. Mark Noble on the ball.

Despite his missed penalty, West Ham midfielder Mark Noble insisted he really enjoyed Saturday’s match against Tottenham Hotspur and believed the team put in an excellent performance.

Speaking after the 1-0 defeat against their old rivals, a dejected Noble was looking for the positives and didn’t have to search too hard to find them.

“Do you know what? Taking the penalty away from it, I though the way we played and the chances we created was similar to the way we played last season,” he said. “We just didn’t get that lucky break where one falls in the back of the net, then Stewart Downing goes through in the last couple of minutes and Lloris pulls off an unbelievable save.

“Even before that I thought we were the better team, but obviously we have been stung. It is a harsh, harsh lesson to be learned.”

It certainly was. West Ham carved out a host full of chances, with Ricardo Vaz Te twice going close, James Collins heading over, Cheikhou Kouyate glancing wide and Downing causing all sorts of problems.

But as hard as they worked and as many balls as they put into the area, they could not quite get the ball over the line. Compound that with the penalty miss and then seeing their man advantage disappear with a second yellow card for Collins and the Hammers failed to take advantage of their numerical and territorial superiority.

“Listen, at the end of the day we have lost the game and I hate losing as much as anyone,” said the 27-year-old. “But the positives we can take from the game are major.

“We know that if we play like that we are going to win more than we lose, but to lose like that in the last minute is devastating. It was the first game of the season as well and we wanted to get off to a good start, but though we didn’t get the result, we did get the performance.”

Another promising aspect on Saturday was the displays of new boys Aaron Cresswell, who was nominated as man of the match, Kouyate who was superb throughout as well as substitute Enner Valencia, who looked lively and pacy when he came on.

“Aaron and Cheikhou started the game and I thought they were both brilliant,” said Nobles. “With Cheikhou in the midfield as well as Kevin Nolan it gives me a license to get forward a little more and I really enjoyed that aspect of things today.”

Noble went close late on when he stormed into the box only to see his shot well saved by Hugo Lloris and perhaps we will see more of Noble in the opposition box this season.

“I wouldn’t say it is a new role. I still played as a sitting midfielder,” explained the midfield man. “But with Cheikhou in there now, who is quite defensively minded, it gives me a bit of a licence to bomb on and create a little bit for the team and I think it worked well.”

However well it worked, West Ham still lost, but Noble is expecting the team to bounce back.

“It is a harsh lesson learned and I hope the lads don’t get too down and the club and the fans don’t get too down because it was a positive performance and hopefully we can stay at that level.”

We shall see.

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