Captain Mark Noble was delighted to see Andre Ayew make a goalscoring return to West Ham United duty.
The Ghana forward returned to Hammers duty after representing Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations by scoring the equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Watford.
A point took Slaven Bilic’s side up to ninth in the table and the skipper is expecting more influential performances to come from the talented No20.
“I was speaking to ‘Dre the other day and said ‘Look, when you come to a new club and get injured in your first game and are out for three months, then you come back and you’re away for another month at the African Nations Cup, it’s so hard to get back involved’,” said Noble.
“Credit to ‘Dre, because he’s come back and worked hard, he’s great around the squad and he got what he deserved.
“He is a very, very good signing and I knew that when we signed him, but he’s had it tough. I’m pretty sure he’ll stay fit now and get us some more goals.”
West Ham fell a goal behind after just three minutes on Saturday, when former Hammer Mauro Zarate won a penalty which was converted by Troy Deeney.
However, the visitors showed resilience to battle back at a wet and windy Vicarage Road to score a deserved draw through Ayew’s second-half finish.
Had things gone differently in front of goal, the captain felt his side could have snatched a third straight away win.
“We played well on Saturday,” he observed. “It makes life tough when you go behind away from home after two minutes, especially with the atmosphere there and everything.
“It wasn’t ideal, but I thought we controlled the game from when we conceded until the finish, with the way we passed the ball about. With a little bit more luck or quality, we could have scored three or four goals.
“It was really raining and really windy and a lot worse conditions than it looked, as the ball was flying everywhere, but as I said, we kept it on the floor, passed it around well and created loads of chances, especially from crosses. If we’d had a little bit more on the night, we could have won it quite comfortably.
“It was a good team goal. We defended it well, went on a great counter-attack and finished it when it came back off the post.
“When you control a game like that and you probably don’t quite get what you deserved, you sit in the changing room afterwards feeling a little bit gutted, if I’m honest.
“The boys played really well away from home, our away form is really good and we’re ninth in the Premier League. It’s looking good and we’re looking like a really good team at the minute.”
Noble also had a word of encouragement for Zarate, who suffered a nasty-looking knee injury at the end of the first half, and wished the Argentine well in his recovery.
“Footballers know what it’s like to get an injury like that,” he said. “Mauro is a really nice man and he started off really well on Saturday and was a real danger for them.
“Our wishes go out to him and hopefully he’s not too bad.”