Monday 20 November 2017

Skipper Noble hits out at 'laughable' Hammers display

West Ham United 0 Southampton 3

Mark Noble shows his dejection at West Ham’s performance. Photo: Reuters
Mark Noble shows his dejection at West Ham’s performance. Photo: Reuters

Matt Gattward

The West Ham captain Mark Noble described his team's performance as "laughable" and admitted the scoreline could have been far more brutal after his team were hammered by Southampton at the London Stadium.

West Ham remain in the relegation zone with just three points - a nervous 1-0 win over Bournemouth - from six games and they have now conceded 14 goals in their last four league matches.

Southampton's James Ward-Prowse celebrates scoring their third goal. Photo: Reuters
Southampton's James Ward-Prowse celebrates scoring their third goal. Photo: Reuters

"We started all right," Noble said, "and then 'bang', we conceded a goal and we never looked in it. If I'm honest it could have been six in the end. On the bright side, I don't think it can get any worse.

"Eleven goals [conceded] in three games is laughable and it's not good enough," he added. "When you are losing it is [a flat atmosphere]. I think we could have kept playing until tonight and we wouldn't have scored.

"It's not good enough but luckily it's early in the season and we've got time to turn it round."

Slaven Bilic, the West Ham manager, was just as disappointed as his captain and admitted it was painful to see the new stadium all but empty before the end with just a pocket of Southampton fans celebrating.

Southampton's Nathan Redmond in action with West Ham United's Winston Reid. Photo: Reuters
Southampton's Nathan Redmond in action with West Ham United's Winston Reid. Photo: Reuters

"An empty ground is not a good sight," he said. "It is very frustrating. Compared to Bournemouth when all the people were celebrating - it hurts, as a manager and as a team."

Bilic took the blame and refused to single out players.

"It is my responsibility," he said. "It is my team. I do not want to point fingers at individuals. One player can make a mistake but this is four games, it is a team mistake.

"All of us. It is 80 per cent the same players, same crowd, same manager as last season. Everything that was good last year for the majority of the season is bad this season. Everything that was average last season is way below par this."

The manager also promised to continue fighting in his attempts to arrest the situation. He blamed confidence as a key factor in the poor performance but says he has faith the players can improve.

"Confidence is a big part," he added. "It is very hard to have confidence when you are 2-0 down. It is a chain. We have had defeats against West Brom and Watford…and confidence is then low already.

"Of course I am asking my self questions all the time: 'What can you do better?' But I do that when you are winning. I am a hard worker. I believe in myself and the team around me. Of course, I'm low today, I am not giving up though."

The Hammers continue to resemble a lottery-winner rattling around their new mansion, with fans and players alike looking uneasy in their new surroundings.

The muck and nettles of Green Street exchanged for the homogenised pubs, shopping mall and sleek walkways that lead to the ground are one thing but the intimidating atmosphere that Upton Park could generate, and this ground as yet cannot, is something else.

The defence was similarly accommodating as Steven Davis found Dusan Tadic drifting off the touchline and he released Bertand in behind right-back Havard Nordtveit just before half-time.

Bertrand looked up and again cut the ball back to Charlie Austin who beautifully swept the ball into the far corner with his left foot.

Tadic doubled the lead just after the hour as he and Austin punished West Ham for losing possession while James Ward-Prowse rounded things off in the 90th minute.

Those who were left in the stadium barely had the energy to get upset.

(© Independent News Service)

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