West Ham veteran Mark Noble has admitted that everyone knew they couldn’t maintain their early-season form and goes on to suggest the club doesn’t belong in the top six.
The comments from the midfielder, who has recently signed a long-term contract with the Hammers, are strikingly honest and perhaps indicate why the club’s season has tailed off since the turn of the year.
Expectation grew in east London following a successful autumn period which saw victories over Liverpool and Manchester City take West Ham into the Premier League’s top four.
However, now with just one win since Christmas, reality has set in and Noble, a lifelong Hammer himself, has admitted that this dip in form was inevitable.
“I think everyone knew, the way we started the season, we couldn’t maintain that sort of pace,” Noble told the London Evening Standard. “Very rarely does a club creep into that top six that doesn’t really belong there.
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“The League is sorting itself out now and the teams you expect to be up there — are there.”
Whether Noble is insinuating that everyone at the club knew they couldn’t maintain it or all the spectators is neither here nor there, it’s a defeatist mentality that will only bring failure.
Noble is being realistic but in order to achieve great feats a belief and trust in one’s ability is a necessity, yet he, and probably a lot of the players and fans, never saw a European qualification spot as a real possibility.
West Ham have the best, strongest squad they’ve had for a number of years and have beaten last season’s top two, this was their best chance of breaking into the top six but their underlying mentality has played a big part in their demise.
If a club belongs in the top six or not is irrelevant, it’s an opinion based on past knowledge, it all comes down to what is happening in the present and up until January West Ham were more than worthy of their place. Doubt then crept in, or as many would argue, reality took hold and the Hammers season has since stagnated.
If West Ham are to become one of English football’s elite sides in the future, with their big move to the Olympic stadium on the horizon, they need to change from this small-club mentality and start believing that they can mix it with the best.
A change of approach, personnel, or manager may be needed to implement this but it’s a must if the club are to progress to the next level.
Ability is obviously a big factor to success, but without mental strength, determination and character nothing can be achieved.
Where will West Ham finish this season? Tell us by leaving a comment in the box below!