Declan Rice: The squad can feel our improvement
West Ham United’s players’ collective confidence is growing, according to Declan Rice, citing his belief the team deserved more than a draw against Everton on Saturday afternoon.
In an impressive first-half showing, the Hammers created several clear-cut chances and forced Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford into making some superb saves to keep parity.
West Ham were finally granted an overdue lead when Issa Diop glanced home Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick after 40 minutes, but Everton hit back almost immediately, Dominic Calvert-Lewin converting Mason Holgate’s flick-on from a corner four minutes later.
Football’s all about confidence, to be honest, and I think the lads have got that back
After a second half of few chances, Rice was pleased with his side’s industrious showing, citing an increase in confidence amidst the camp, but rued not going out of sight before the visitors clambered back into the game.
“If you look at the chances we created in the first half, realistically we should’ve been about three up. We missed some great chances,” Rice admitted.
“The manager’s said that, in the position we are, they’re the ones you’ve got to take. We managed to get a goal in front and then switched off just before half-time, and then the rest of the game was a bit stretched.
“I think you can see with us on the pitch we have improved. We’re defending better now, we’re in better shape, we’re moving the ball around better, we’re switching it better.
“Football’s all about confidence, to be honest, and I think the lads have got that back. It was tough to take at Sheffield [United], we should’ve won today – with those improvements today, we’ve just got to get going.”
While the Irons have been unfortunate to collect just a single point from their last two battling displays, Rice believes all in Claret and Blue can draw optimism from the evidence of his individual, and the side’s collective, improved displays.
The England midfielder, who turned 21 this week, cited the coaching methods of Moyes as a factor behind his own personal upturn in form.
“When he first came in, he said I’ve been doing well, but I could be doing better, and to be honest that was the truth,” Rice noted.
“We sat down, he showed me some clips where maybe I hadn’t been running hard enough and said ‘you need to run better, you need to run quicker, you need to get back into position better’.
“I have to say last three games, I’ve done that. It’s in my mind that if I don’t do that, he’s going to be on my case, so we’re doing that and we’re working together on the training pitch on my passing.
“He’s always encouraging me to play forward and switch the ball quickly, but he’s been really good not only for me, but for the other lads as well, because he says it how it is and wants everyone to improve.”
Every point counts at the moment. We need to stay positive we’re going to get out of this
Rice also praised the improved mood within the squad as a product of the work being implemented by Moyes and his coaching staff.
“With Alan [Irvine] too, his assistant [manager], they’ve both been excellent since coming in,” Rice smiled. “The training’s been really good and the lads are really enjoying it.
“We want to get out of the position we’re in, and I think if we keep playing the way we are…
“I know some fans will say that we should be winning these games at home with the position we’re in, but Everton are a good side with good players, and every point counts at the moment. We need to stay positive we’re going to get out of this.”