Rice: It’s impossible to start a Premier League game like that
Declan Rice says West Ham United need to get to the bottom of why they have passed up so many opportunities to strengthen their challenge for a top-seven Premier League finish.
The Hammers have had a succession of chances to win matches that would either lift them into seventh place directly or close the gap on the teams above them – only to repeatedly pass them up with disappointing performances.
The latest of those came at Cardiff City on Saturday, when the Irons produced another below-par display and result to go along with those at Burnley and AFC Bournemouth.
“It’s very, very disappointing and seems like the common theme, to be honest,” he said. “We come away to these clubs who are down the bottom of the table and we get beat.
“It happened at Bournemouth, it happened at Burnley and these are all great chances that we’ve had to move up towards seventh and it was the same on Saturday.
“It wasn’t meant to be and I’m gutted because it was a poor performance.”
It’s impossible to start a Premier League game like that
Focusing on the 2-0 defeat in the Welsh capital, Rice said a combination of West Ham’s own shortcomings and Cardiff’s own front-foot approach were the major reasons behind the Irons’ latest away-day let-down.
“Cardiff were well set up and the way they play is with a man-marking system, so they literally follow you all over the pitch and it was tough to get on the ball, make space and make movements.
“In the second half, obviously I hit the post and we maybe could have had a few more chances, but it was a poor day at the office and we didn’t do enough and they did.”
Just as happened at home to Fulham recently, West Ham started slowly and fell behind within five minutes, despite Pellegrini and his players speaking before the game about the need to play with a high tempo themselves.
While the Hammers turned things around against the Whites, they were unable to do so against the Bluebirds.
“It’s impossible to start a Premier League game like that,” Rice confirmed. “It happened against Fulham and it’s happened a couple of times this season where we’ve conceded an early goal and that’s never good because then you’re chasing the game when you want to have a foothold in the game and you want to be controlling it.
“They went about their business, they got their two goals and the three points and it wasn’t good enough from us and we haven’t got the three points.
“To be fair, I didn’t think we were complacent. They were just really tough to play against and difficult to break down, but we need to put the stuff we’re working on in training into action, because I don’t think we showed enough of it.”
West Ham’s home form has been in contrast to their away form, with no defeats at London Stadium in 2019.
With Huddersfield Town up next, Rice says the Hammers have a chance to bounce back from their Cardiff defeat and keep that run going.
“I think we need make our home at London Stadium a fortress. We’ve had a great start there in 2019.
“Huddersfield lost on Saturday but we need to go back home next week, put in a performance and get a major three points for our season.”