Noble rues Europa League qualifiers

Date published: Sunday 2nd August 2015 12:06

Having qualified via the Fair Play league, West Ham have already played five games in the Europa League and face a sixth, the second leg of their third qualifying round tie against Astra Giurgiu, on Thursday, less than 72 hours before they start their Premier League campaign at Emirates Stadium.

Noble told the Sunday Mirror: “It is not ideal preparation for the Arsenal game – simple as.

“You don’t want to go and play in Romania three days before the opening day of the season – and at Arsenal away, of all places.

“The football people, the people who understand football know that it is not ideal. But we have to deal with it and, hopefully, we can come away unscathed.

“We have the resources to handle a Premier League season. It is tough at the moment because we have players suspended and those matches are our pre-season games. The suspended players have got to play in one of the other games we have arranged.

“It hasn’t been an ideal pre-season, if I am honest.”

West Ham drew the first leg of their game against Astra Giurgiu 2-2 in a game which saw James Collins sent off and Enner Valencia stretchered off, leaving Slaven Bilic with a difficult team selection going into the second leg in Romania.

Noble recalled the squad’s return from their last excursion, to Malta, when they got back at 5am.

“When I got in my front door, it was light,” he said. “We had to come in for a warm-down, so the lads had only two hours’ sleep.

“Other teams have done it in the past, but you look at Spurs and Everton last year and they struggled in the league because those journeys take it out of you.”

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