Noble and Antonio declared fit

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 21st November 2019

Both Mark Noble and Michail Antonio are available for selection again this weekend as West Ham prepare to host Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday's big London derby.

Noble - who was injured in the 3-0 defeat at Burnley - and Antonio, who has been sidelined since West Ham's 4-0 defeat at Oxford United in the Carabao Cup were both considered 50/50 earlier this week.

However Manuel Pellegrini confirmed on Thursday that both players were in contention for a place in his 18-man squad for Saturday's encounter, having been ruled fit to play.

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"Both of them worked the whole week without a problem and will be involved in the game on Saturday," said Pellegrini during his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

"Antonio had a long injury and makes things happen in attacking, whilst Mark Noble is the captain of the team. They are able to play and they are both important players for us."

The return of both players should ease the pressure upon the manager somewhat, who has been facing calls for his replacement as a result of West Ham's recent adverse sequence of results.

Yet Pellegrini maintains he feels no added pressure and that it will be business as usual for him when the Hammers line up against their old foes at the LOS this coming Saturday.

"With 33 years in this profession, I know what football is about," he said. "I have answered the same questions at other times. For me, the pressure I put on myself is greater than any other pressure.

"The pressure that I feel now is exactly the same as the pressure I felt on that first day I was in charge of West Ham. For me, it was a challenge to come here.

"It's a challenge I want. I want to try to grow this club and not just to be fighting relegation or trying to be in mid-table. We'll try to improve and play the way I like to play football.

"The pressure for me is to have a good team that plays good football the way I like to. We've demonstrated before that we can do it."

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And even were West Ham to bring their recent poor run of form to an end and beat Spurs in Stratford this weekend, Pellegrini insists that this will only be the first stage in the team's recuperation as far as he is concerned.

"Of course Tottenham is a special game, but it's not the last game - it's not enough to try to beat them and after that try to stay around 12th to 15th in the table," he asserted.

"That's not my goal as manager. So that is my challenge and now we have to play against Tottenham.

"I'll continue to try and instill a winning and ambitious mentality at the club and in all the players and try to grow one step more with a club that has 60,000 fans behind them in every game."

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