West Ham skipper Mark Noble backs Norwich City to keep hold of Premier League status
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
West Ham skipper Mark Noble believes Norwich City proved they belong in the Premier League when giving the Hammers an almighty scare at Carrow Road.
Slaven Bilic's high-flying team were facing defeat in Norfolk after seeing Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan fire the Canaries into a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes remaining.
The visitors hit back to leave with a point, thanks to goals from French talisman Dimitri Payet and a thunderbolt from Noble, but Norwich were lifted out of the relegation zone thanks to Newcastle being thrashed at Chelsea – and the midfielder thinks City are capable of staying outside of the bottom three.
'When I've been down there with West Ham before, we've had results like this when you go up and then the belief gets sapped out of you as soon as another team gets a goal,' Noble said.
'But they work for each other, Norwich. I'm pretty sure they'll be fine. They just need to pick up and get some results on the board but that was important for us.
'We're at different ends of the table but we're fighting for points as well.'
The 28-year-old, a product of West Ham's academy who has made over 350 appearances for the east London club, knows all about the challenges of a battle for survival.
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He was a key part of the Hammers squads which narrowly avoided the drop in 2007 and 2010, before going down in 2011.
After helping his club bounce back immediately with promotion via the Championship play-offs in 2012, Noble has been able to enjoy three seasons of positive progress in the top flight.
He still left Norwich feeling relieved though, with the game following a sapping 2-1 extra-time win over Liverpool in an FA Cup fourth round replay last Tuesday.
'You come away to Norwich, which you know is going to be a tough game, with the game that we had in midweek and the injuries we picked up,' he continued.
'To come here and to come back from 2-0 down, that gives you great belief as a squad and as a team.
'We needed that point and I'm just proud that we've shown what we are as a squad and as a team – and we've done it together.'
Top scorer Payet took his tally for the season to seven with the Hammers' first goal and the £10.7million summer signing from Marseille also claimed his fifth assist of the campaign by teeing up Noble for his stunning equaliser.
'I think the players we've brought in, we've brought in some special players,' said Noble, who has recently been touted with an England call-up.
'Don't forget we've got (Diafra) Sakho out, we've got (Manuel) Lanzini out as well but we've brought some top, top quality players in, some very good signings, we've got a strong bench and that makes a difference.'