Defiant David Moyes defends 'big decision' to send on Mark Noble to take last-minute penalty

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West Ham United's Mark Noble reacts after missing from the penalty spot - Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
West Ham United's Mark Noble reacts after missing from the penalty spot - Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

David Moyes defended his decision to bring on Mark Noble to take West Ham's injury-time penalty, which was saved, in their dramatic late Premier League defeat by Manchester United.

The West Ham manager immediately summoned Noble from the bench after his team, trailing 2-1, had been awarded a stoppage time spot-kick following a handball by Luke Shaw.

Even though the penalty kick was Noble's first touch of the ball, Moyes said he had no regrets about his call regarding a player who had previously failed to score only four of 42 career penalties - and the last of them not for five years.

"We got a penalty kick and I have one of the best penalty takers in the Premier League and Europe. I think if I hadn't made the decision I'd have been more annoyed with myself,” he argued.

"I asked him and he said I'm ready, he has a great record, why would we not? We've missed a few recently so I thought I'd take the opportunity to bring Mark on. That is what happens in management. You have to make big decisions and sometimes they go and sometimes they don’t.”

David De Gea’s save from Noble’s kick was also his first in five years. He said: "Everything was a bit crazy. I saw Declan Rice with the ball and then suddenly I saw Mark Noble with the ball. It was a bit strange. He's the specialist of the team but I made the save and we got the three points. As soon as I saw the ball hit Luke Shaw's hand I was always thinking about the penalty."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer paid tribute to the way the goalkeeper has performed this season after losing his place during the last campaign. “He is a different man,” he said. “He asked to come back early from pre-season and he wanted to show how good he is. He is so focused and he has saved two points for us.”

The Manchester United manager, however, expressed fears that Premier League referees might be reluctant to award Cristiano Ronaldo penalties after claiming his side were denied two “stonewall” ones.

Solskjaer did not dispute the penalty given to West Ham, following a Var check which deemed Shaw handled a cross, but was annoyed that appeals by United and Ronaldo, who became increasingly annoyed with referee Martin Atkinson, were turned down.

"Two [United penalties should have been awarded],” Solskjaer said. “The first and the last. I think they are stonewall and you cannot even argue against them. The lad [Vladimir Coufal] puts his foot out and Cristiano runs straight and he is fouled. The last one - Paul had a foul against him, Kurt Zouma. He did not touch him but he went over him so why is Cristiano's third appeal not a penalty? Hopefully it won’t be 'Cristiano is never going to be [given] a penalty'.”

Solskjaer was similarly effusive about match-winner Jesse Lingard, having thwarted West Ham’s attempts to sign him during the summer and with the player having been at fault as United lost their opening Champions League group game away against Young Boys in midweek.

“He had a tough evening on Tuesday but he was knocked down and worked hard again,” Solskjaer said. “Jesse was quite clear. He wanted to fight for his place and be part of a Man United team that is going places. He is really contributing. He will play of course on Wednesday [in the Carabao Cup tie between the two sides] because I will make a few changes. He handles the set-backs well and is becoming a grown man.”

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