Mark Noble says Pablo Fornals is mindset exactly what West Ham United needs as they search the successes needed to secure Premier League safety.
The Spanish midfielder shrugged off the disappointment of being left out of the matchday squad in Manchester City last week to generate a goalscoring performance off the substitutes’ bench in Monday’s 3-2 defeat at Anfield.
The 24-year-old replaced the outstanding Tomas Soucek two minutes following half-time when the Czech was forced off with a hip injury, before placing the Hammers in front seven minutes later and celebrating with a trademark salute before the Claret and Blue Army.
Speaking to West Ham TV, Noble hailed Fornals professionalism and character in showing his caliber on his return to action.
“He’s a great lad, Pablo, you know,” said the skipper. “Every participant, if you are a soccer player it is your profession, you need to play football. He clearly has not done that as much as he would love to, but he got his chance and he comes in and did well.
“I stated to him that not many West Ham players have scored at Anfield and he was pleased to receive his aim, but the lads were gutted to come to a place like that and play like this and never get what we deserved, but it’s what it is and we’ve to win on Saturday.”
West Ham’s functionality in compelling the unbeaten leaders all of the way was widely lauded by the media and fans of both clubs, with arguably just two goalkeeping errors and a lucky deflection off Noble that led to Sadio Mane’s winner averting the Hammers from becoming the first team to beat the Reds in the Premier League this year.
“Sometimes, you go to Anfield and you sit and you do not really like it because you do not get the ball so much, but I actually enjoyed the game, actually enjoyed being part of it, shooting Liverpool all the way, and we deserved more,” the captain observed.
“I am really only gutted for the fans who travelled up because I felt like we deserved a little bit longer.
“I thought the boys were brilliant, losing Tomas only after half-time, then going 2-1 up, and clearly Lukasz has made a couple mistakes, but it is a team game and we should be there to dig him out after he’s done that, and he is saved us repeatedly through the years.
“I explained to the boys, as I walked:’Just as it is a sickening feeling as we felt like we deserved, we have got to have a whole lot of positives from this’. We didn’t seem like a team that has been fighting a relegation battle.
“I just think we will need to get back into training and take all of the positives from this game and recover, since the games will come thick and fast now, and I would say we will need to win them.”