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Payet absence no excuse – Noble

West Ham captain Mark Noble refused to blame the absence of star Dimitri Payet for his side’s shock Europa League loss to Domzale.

A Matic Crnic brace saw the Slovenians to a shock 2-1 victory in Ljubljana on Thursday in the first leg of the third qualifying round.

Payet is still on extended leave after helping France reach the Euro 2016 final, and the star midfielder was missed.

But Noble, who had cancelled out Crnic’s penalty with one of his own, called for improvement from his team in the return leg.

“We lost 2-1, I don’t think it was a penalty in the first half but you’ve got to get on with it, but we ended up losing the game,” he told BT Sport.

“It’s something to look forward to [the first game at the Olympic Stadium]. It’s not the ideal result but we’ve got to go there positive, I’m sure the fans will be behind us.”

“You’re going to miss a player like Dimi, of course. But that’s no excuse. We had a good enough team to come here and win, but we didn’t do that.

“Obviously these games are tough but we didn’t play well tonight. We better play well on Thursday.”

Thu 28 Jul, 2016
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