On his 300th League appearance West Ham captain Mark Noble gives his side the lead from the penalty spot

On his 300th league appearance, West Ham captain Mark Noble gave his side the lead from the penalty spot

Stoke manager Mark Hughes said fan unrest was “understandable” after a 3-0 home defeat by West Ham increased the pressure on him.

The Potters have now lost five of their past six and conceded the most goals in the Premier League, and chants of “Hughes out” and “sacked in the morning” greeted the final whistle.

This latest defeat, which included a penalty by Mark Noble that Hughes accused West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini of diving to win, put Stoke one point and one place above the relegation zone.

Further goals from ex-Stoke player Marko Arnautovic and Diafra Sakho added to their misery in a loss that came a week after fans at a train station vented their anger at the Potters squad following a 5-1 thrashing by Tottenham.

“That’s understandable,” Hughes said. “Up to 75 minutes before the second goal, I thought the fans were absolutely magnificent, they were driving us on, totally behind us.

“Like ourselves on the bench, as soon as the second goal went in it took the wind out of our sails, you get a little bit anxious, a little bit angry then you get a response but for the most part I thought they were great.”

Kick-off was delayed by an hour at the Bet365 Stadium because of a power outage, and many home fans left early as a grim-faced Hughes looked on.

‘Poor sequence of events for him and us’

Lanzini tumbles as Stoke's Erik Pieters makes a challenge

Lanzini tumbles as Stoke’s Erik Pieters makes a challenge. Mark Hughes called it a “dive” but David Moyes said his player “went over with fatigue”

Hughes feels his side are in a downward cycle of unjust decisions against them.

He criticised referee Martin Atkinson for not sending off Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet when he tripped Mame Biram Diouf during the Potters’ 3-0 home defeat in November.

Now he is angered that Graham Scott pointed to the spot when Lanzini went to ground under minimal contact from Pieters.

“It’s the way our luck is going at the moment,” the Potters boss said.

“Things are conspiring against us and we need help from referees to get things right.

“I’ve seen it again. The guy’s dived. He’s drawn the challenge. He’s a clever player. It was clearly a dive and the ref’s seen something that no-one else saw. All in all, it was a poor sequence of events for him and for us.

“It sounds like sour grapes when you talk about people getting punished retrospectively. It doesn’t help us now.”

Noble converted the penalty, while Austria international Arnautovic should have had a hat-trick, hitting the woodwork twice in the second half before finally finishing with his right foot into the bottom corner after a deft exchange of passes with Lanzini.

Substitute Sakho compounded Stoke’s woes when he collected the influential Lanzini’s through ball and slotted coolly past keeper Jack Butland.

‘Arnie’ silences Stoke fans’ boos

Marko Arnautovic gestures to West Ham fans as he leaves the pitch

West Ham boss David Moyes said he was “annoyed” with Arnautovic’s missed chances at half-time but was pleased with the striker’s eventual contribution against his old club

They call Marko Arnautovic ‘Arnie’ at London Stadium, and the Austrian shares a steely determination with some of his Hollywood namesake’s biggest movie roles.

He was booed relentlessly by Stoke fans unable to forgive him for his £20m summer move to the capital.

But the 28-year-old, who was told he must work harder or risk being dropped when David Moyes arrived in November, used the barracking as motivation.

He braved the catcalls after he missed several strong chances, and hit the bar twice, and kept plugging away without letting his head drop.

When he was replaced on 79 minutes former boss Hughes demanded he hurry off the pitch and a Stoke scarf was thrown at the striker from the stands.

Arnautovic’s response? He gave jubilant West Ham fans in the away end the Hammers’ crossed-arm ‘irons’ symbol and headed straight down the tunnel.

Just not enough spark for Stoke

Shaqiri touch-map

Xherdan Shaqiri had more touches (78), shots (six) and key passes (four) than any Stoke team-mate. Centre-back Ryan Shawcross had four efforts but no forwards other than Shaqiri had more than two.

They are having a party at Stoke’s stadium tonight.

More than 500 partygoers will toast the festive season at a pre-booked corporate event, but the Potters fans among them will not feel much like celebrating.

This latest setback against fellow strugglers puts even more pressure on next Saturday’s similarly high-stake game against second-bottom West Brom and also on manager Mark Hughes.

Stoke chairman Peter Coates has denied Hughes is facing the sack