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Most important season in West Ham history - Noble

Mark Noble says this season was the most important in West Ham's club history Credit: PA

West Ham captain Mark Noble has stressed the club have had a "great season" no matter what as they wait to see if it ends with a place in Europe, and has labelled the 2015-16 campaign "the most important in club history."

Victory on Sunday at Stoke in their season-ending Premier League game would have guaranteed Europa League football for the Hammers next term at the Olympic Stadium.

But after going 1-0 ahead, Slaven Bilic's men ended up losing 2-1, finishing seventh in the table and requiring Manchester United to beat Crystal Palace in Saturday's FA Cup final to give them a place in the continental competition.

Noble says the result has to be looked at in the bigger picture of the season overall as they prepare to leave the Boleyn Ground behind.

We have to take this result in context and that is we've had a great season. We have come on a long way.

I've always said this season was probably the most important in the club's history.

Moving stadiums we had to make sure we were a solid Premier League team and we did that midway through the season. We had a small chance at Champions League which was great, and now we just have to wait and see what happens in the cup final.

– Mark Noble

West Ham boss backs Antonio for England call

Bilic is full of praise for Michail Antonio. Credit: PA

Slaven Bilic says in-form West Ham winger Michail Antonio should be considered for an England call-up.

The 26-year-old has enjoyed a fine debut season in the Barclays Premier League after arriving at Upton Park from Nottingham Forest last summer.

With Danny Welbeck ruled out of Euro 2016 through injury, Bilic feels England manager Roy Hodgson could do worse than check out the Hammers wideman.

"He's quality, the way he is playing, the big impact that he's had on our game and also on the Premier League," said the West Ham boss.

"I'm saying as his club manager he's scored some goals, he's made some assists, he's defending really well.

"Of course Roy Hodgson has got a good team, he's not struggling for names. England qualified with 10 out of 10 wins so it's very hard for some players to break in - somebody has got to get injured or somebody has to lose a place in his club long term.

"But if you ask me does he have enough to offer? Yeah, definitely. He's a player who when he's one against one, he's got pace, he's got strength, he's got the quality of going up and down, he's dangerous on goal. He's a great player for us.

"So does he have potential? Definitely."


West Ham boss Bilic condemns 'sick' sacking of Flores

Bilic does not approve of Flores' sacking. Credit: PA

Watford's decision to replace head coach Quique Sanchez Flores is "sick", according to his West Ham counterpart Slaven Bilic.

The Hornets announced on Friday that their Spanish boss will leave Vicarage Road at the end of what on the face of it has been a successful season for a newly-promoted Premier League club.

They are destined for a mid-table finish and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, beating holders Arsenal along the way. Yet that does not appear to be enough for owner Gino Pozzo, who has made a decision which Bilic strongly condemned.

"It's crazy," he said. "I'm sorry for Quique. It's completely wrong, they've had a fantastic season.

"As far as I know if someone had offered Watford that...before the season everyone predicted they were likely candidates to go down. Yet they were never in danger and until January or February they were in the top eight, or top 10.

"Add to that they play good football, and add to that they were in the semi-final of the FA Cup, beating Arsenal away.

"They had a great season, the place was buzzing, it was a season to be proud of. It says it's more important how you finish than how you start but it is nonsense for me. People say it's common in Europe, it's common in England, but it's completely wrong, it's sick."

Bilic: West Ham win was perfect goodbye to Boleyn

Bilic hugs striker Andy Carroll. Credit: PA

Slaven Bilic believes West Ham's final game at Upton Park ticked all the boxes as the hosts came from behind to beat Manchester United.

In what was an emotionally-charged game, headers from Michail Antonio and Winston Reid secured a 3-2 victory for the Hammers as they bade farewell to their home of 112 years ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium.

"It's a great night," he told Sky Sports.

"It's our history and it's not just a game. It's against them, (United) it's fighting for Europe and everything, a late night game - it couldn't be better.

"All the boxes you need to have a special kind of a game, it was tonight. All the boxes were there, Man United, late night....thriller, five brilliant."

"It was a special game, it was big, big pressure for us although we've had a great season and I told the guys 'however we finish the last couple of games, this season has been great for West Ham in terms of breaking a few records and everything'.

"We were till the end in a couple of competitions and battling for the Europa League and a good run in the FA Cup so it was good, very good or excellent, but we were under pressure.

"We didn't want to lose our last game at this fantastic stadium. We just wanted to win and this was a win of character."

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