Following Dimitri Payet’s admission that he felt “liberated” after scoring his first goal for Marseille on Wednesday night, Mark Noble has revealed that West Ham have become ‘happier’ in the wake of the Frenchman’s departure.
Payet completed a £25m return to Marseille in acrimonious circumstances after telling Hammers manager Slaven Bilic in January that he would no longer play for the club.
The 29-year-old made his first start for the Ligue 1 yesterday evening as Marseille beat Guingamp 2-0 at home, adding his side's second from a deflected free kick.
"I'm liberated to have scored," he told reporters after the game. "It frees me up because, when you're transferred, it's better to be decisive quickly.”
But as the midfielder adjusts to his new life in the south of France, West Ham’s Noble has said that the atmosphere at the east London club has now eased with Payet out of the picture.
"Obviously we were gutted. The manager, as you saw from his press conference, was obviously gutted as well," the West Ham captain told Sky Sports.
"He had a massive impact on our team because he was a big player in the changing room. The players loved him and would do anything for him.
"It got a bit disjointed and it was a tough time for all of us. But it has become a happy place again. I think it was on the manager's chest and mind.
"He didn't want to get rid of Dimi, but he wanted to get rid of the situation. Obviously we had to deal with all of that and the best way to do that was by winning games, that's what we've done."
Payet had been training with West Ham's U23s prior to his departure and did not feature in last month's wins over Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough.
Following his initial admission that he no longer wanted to play for the Hammers, the side have since won three of their last four Premier League matches.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies