Hammers unaffected by speculation

The Bolton News: Mark Noble scored three goals as West Ham finished 13th Mark Noble scored three goals as West Ham finished 13th

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble claims the team have not been affected by speculation over manager Sam Allardyce's future.

Noble believes the Hammers have shown signs in the second half of the season that they have the foundations of a promising side under Allardyce.

West Ham sat in the Barclays Premier League relegation zone at the start of February but pulled clear and ultimately finished a creditable 13th.

Despite that, the build-up to their final game against champions Manchester City was overshadowed by claims that Allardyce, who led the club to promotion two years ago, could be replaced this summer.

Asked if the team could now go on to improve, Noble said: "I think so, I can't see why not.

"It was a tight league and a couple of results can push you up the table.

"We managed to win four in February, then beat Hull at home and Sunderland away to confirm our safety.

"To beat Spurs in the last home game of the season finished it off nicely.

"I think every manager in the league has stories about them these days. We have just got on with it.

"It has been tough but we have finished 13th and we were second from bottom in December.

"It is a credit to the lads and everyone involved in the club that we got ourselves out of that and ended up 13th."

The Hammers ended the season as bit-part players at City's title-winning party at the Etihad Stadium.

Victory for the Londoners would have provided one dramatic final twist in a compelling title race - and sent the trophy to Liverpool - but it never seemed a likely prospect.

City were in command throughout and won comfortably 2-0 with goals from Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany.

Noble, 27, said: "We tried to come here and give a good account of ourselves and we showed we didn't come here and expect to be beaten.

"But we knew what it was going to be like - they do it to every team that comes here.

"They defended well and then Nasri hit a 30-yarder that went straight in the bottom corner, out of nowhere.

"After that it was an uphill struggle, with them at home needing only a draw to win the league.

"With one goal up they knew they had probably done it."

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