Mark Noble has aimed a dig at West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini’s tactics and praised Burnley boss Sean Dyche ahead of today’s crunch clash.
West Ham take on Burnley in desperate form, without a win in six.
The Hammers, widely tipped to compete for the top six this season, have dropped like a stone down to 13th in the table.
Burnley have not been much better of late, losing their last three.
But they will fancy their chances at Turf Moor against a West Ham side that has looked bereft of confidence, quality and fight in recent weeks.
Pellegrini and owners under fire after desperate run
Pellegrini has been criticised by fans for his tactics and team selection. Resentment towards the owners is also resurfacing as West Ham’s squad has been exposed as sorely lacking in several key areas following a paltry £25million net spend in the summer.
But on the eve of the game, Hammers captain Mark Noble has defended the board’s work by once again claiming this is the best West Ham squad he has seen (Evening Standard).
And he aimed a not so subtle dig at his manager’s tactics while heaping praise on Burnley and boss Dyche.
The comments, in Noble’s weekly Evening Standard column, are clearly designed as a wake up call to his teammates and manager ahead of the undoubtedly tough afternoon that awaits them.
Noble defends board, criticises Pellegrini and praises Burnley
West Ham then regurgitated a portion of the column on their official website but left out any of the references to Pellegrini’s tactics.
“When we were at our best, beating Watford, Norwich and Manchester United, we were playing some exhilarating football and we can do that again,” Noble said in The Evening Standard.
“I said back then that this is the most talented squad the club have had since I have been at West Ham and I didn’t make that claim lightly.
“Against Newcastle last Saturday we had the vast majority of possession yet found ourselves 2-0 down at half-time — and it could have been even worse. There are some managers who would maybe set the team up to sit back, invite the pressure and then counter-attack. Managers live and die by their decisions and Manuel Pellegrini does what he believes is best for the team.
“That has worked well up until these past few games. Away at Burnley will be completely different. They are brilliant at what they do. They work really hard and play the way the manager wants. It’s as simple as that.”
Noble comments designed to get a reaction?
It is not the first time Noble has appeared to question Pellegrini’s tactics and praised the Burnley way.
After the opening day 5-0 defeat to Man City this season, Noble hinted West Ham’s tactics were naive and played into the champions’ hands (Evening Standard).
And he urged Pellegrini to play more like Burnley against certain teams to get a result.
Noble’s comments are a touch controversial given how delicate the situation is at West Ham right now.
And they are very interestingly timed.
He has been around a long time and perhaps this is what he feels is needed to spark a reaction.
I guess we will find out today if it has worked.