West Ham United stars Manuel Lanzini, Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson and co have been given a last minute wake-up call ahead of today’s Burnley clash.
West Ham head to Turf Moor with no wins in six.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have dropped from third to 13th as a result.
And the Hammers now face a daunting run of fixtures, which kicks off with a trip to a Burnley side that give no half measures at home.
Blame game at struggling West Ham
Pellegrini, the players and the board have all been criticised of late as West Ham’s season falters.
But captain Mark Noble says the team’s much-heralded attacking players are to blame for the slump.
And he used his Evening Standard column on Friday afternoon to call the likes of Lanzini, Haller, Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and co to start producing the goods.
“The players who are often affected most by a poor run are not so much the young ones but rather the flair men,” Noble told The Evening Standard.
Noble calls on attacking quartet to produce the goods
“When confidence starts to drain away they will stop trying things in the final third because of the risk of losing the ball. That’s the biggest problem. Someone like myself, Declan Rice or even Robert Snodgrass are not going to try multiple step-overs or take someone on to create opportunities to score.
“Flair players such as Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Sebastien Haller are the ones we need to carry on doing their bits of magic around the box and trying to get us a goal. I’m on at those players constantly in training, telling them it doesn’t matter if you lose the ball as long as you run back — but whatever you do, keep trying to do what you’re best at.
“When your strikers play well, the team play well.”
Let’s hope the forwards heed Noble’s encouragement and take it in the way it is intended.
Criticism and confidence
Haller has looked increasingly isolated, tired and frustrated up front.
Anderson and Lanzini have both struggled for form. Although at least the former has been working hard for the team during games.
Lanzini in particular has been heavily criticised, particularly after signed a bumper new long-term contract.
Confidence – or lack of it in West Ham’s case at the moment – is a big factor.
A win at Burnley would be the perfect starting point.