(Reuters) - West Ham captain Mark Noble is relieved to have moved on from the “hardest eight months” of his career after off-field issues disrupted the club’s first season at the London Stadium.
West Ham, who finished seventh in the Premier league last season, got off to a bad start this term and were languishing in 18th place after seven games, but have rallied in recent months to climb to 11th.
They lost midfielder Manuel Lanzini, defender Aaron Cresswell, and strikers Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew to pre-season injuries, while Dimitri Payet handed in a transfer request and left for Olympique de Marseille in January.
“It’s probably been the hardest (period) of my West Ham career over the last eight months because we’ve had so much to deal with off the pitch,” Noble told the club website. (www.whufc.com)
”Obviously the move to the new stadium and a move to a new training ground, the Dimi situation, so much has gone on and we lost four of our best players to injury in pre-season, which is hard to replace.
“You’ve got to stick at it, the players have dug in and over the last couple of months it’s been really good.”
Noble said pressure was something all players and managers in the league had to deal with on a daily basis.
“The things Arsene Wenger has done for Arsenal and some people want him out ... Players like Wayne Rooney, some people want him out of the Manchester United team,” Noble added.
“I think the big characters, that’s why we are captains of our clubs, because we can handle that pressure.”
West Ham, who have not won in five games, host defending champions Leicester City in the league on Saturday.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford