West Ham skipper Mark Noble has claimed the entire club is happier since Dimitri Payet left in the January transfer window, with performances on the field suggesting his comments are right.
Payet’s refusal to represent the Hammers and eventual sale to Marseille was undoubtably the saga of the January transfer window but, despite losing their star player, Slaven Bilic’s side seem to be all the better for it.
Winning three of their four Premier League matches since Payet departed, the Hammers have battled away from the relegation zone and now look capable of securing a top-half finish, something that looked nigh impossible at the start of the year.
Whilst the initial reaction in the squad wasn’t positive, Noble told Sky Sports News HQ that the atmosphere around the club has improved significantly.
“Obviously we were gutted. The manager, as you saw from his press conference, was obviously gutted as well. He had a massive impact on our team because he was a big player in the changing room. The players loved him and would do anything for him.”
“It got a bit disjointed and it was a tough time for all of us. But it has become a happy place again. I think it was on the manager’s chest and mind. He didn’t want to get rid of Dimi, but he wanted to get rid of the situation. Obviously we had to deal with all of that and the best way to do that was by winning games, that’s what we’ve done.”
Sat ninth in the table and, significantly, 11 points clear of the relegation spots, Bilic’s side look to finally be settling into the London Stadium.