Tuesday, 06 April 2021 06:55

Staff Reporter.

West Ham captain Mark Noble says the Hammers have nothing to lose in the race to secure Champions League football after victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers moved them into the Premier League's top four.

After racing into a three-goal lead during a brilliant opening 40 minutes, the Hammers held off a Wolves fightback to secure a win that moves them above Chelsea with eight games remaining.

The only negative for David Moyes' side was the early withdrawal of Michail Antonio through injury, with the striker to be assessed in the coming days.

But the Hammers showed real character following his departure to secure the win, and Noble says the squad are determined to fight for a top-four finish.

"We said two or three weeks ago that when we get to single figures in games left we can have a right go, because we have nothing to lose and we can go for it," he said.

"Let's hope it's a great [season]. We have eight games to go and we're in fourth We're mixing it with the top teams."

On-loan Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard was in inspired form as the Hammers tore Wolves apart in the first half, scoring a fine solo goal and playing a part in the other two as the visitors raced into a 3-0 lead.

After running from inside his own half for the opener, he produced a brilliant flick on the byline to find Arthur Masuaku, whose low cross was turned in first time by Pablo Fornals, before then leading a quick counter to tee up substitute Jarrod Bowen to drive in the third.

Moyes' side had let slip a 3-0 lead in their previous game against Arsenal to draw 3-3 and they looked in danger of a repeat when Leander Dendoncker headed home just before half-time and substitute Fabio Silva rolled in a fine strike midway through the second half to reduce the deficit to one goal.

West Ham dropped deep as they tried to hold on to their slender advantage, and although Wolves dominated the closing stages they could not find a way through for a third time.

Moyes, like Noble, believes there is no reason why West Ham cannot stay in the fight for a top-four finish.

"I am hearing pundits talking about West Ham having a chance of Champions League," he said.

"Nobody would have envisaged or mentioned that last season. Can we keep it going? We are going to try and compete with the big teams right until the end."

Meanwhile Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted his side are still in the fight for European qualification despite conceding a late leveller to Crystal Palace.

Palace substitute Michy Batshuayi equalised in the 86th minute, placing the ball beyond Robin Olsen into the bottom corner.

Returning from injury, Everton's James Rodriguez had given the Toffees a deserved lead with a superb right-footed strike in the 56th minute.

"The target is the same," Ancelotti told BBC Sport.

"We lost two points. We have to get those two points back in other games."

The result leaves Everton eighth, five points off fourth-placed West Ham having played one game fewer.