Declan Rice: We need to stay calm, stay confident, stick together and give 100 per cent
Declan Rice says West Ham United need to give everything to retain their place in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old was the best player on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday evening, only for missed opportunities, a controversial VAR decision and a defensive slip to condemn Rice and his fellow Hammers to a 2-0 defeat.
West Ham created a number of decent opportunities in north London, but Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio fired off-target when the game was still goalless and Jarrod Bowen hit a post at 1-0 down. At the other end, Tomas Soucek inadvertently put through his own net after the ball had brushed Davinson Sanchez's arm, before Harry Kane raced free from halfway to settle matters late on.
The England international, who wore the captain’s armband for the final 20 minutes, led by example again, making the most passes and tackles of any West Ham player, and repeatedly encouraging his teammates to give everything for the Claret and Blue cause.
No-one wants to be where we are, let me tell you, it’s horrible, so we need to stay calm, stay confident and start picking up some points
Speaking to West Ham TV after the game, the No41 was clearly disappointed, but remains determined and confident that the Irons can turn their form around and stay up.
“I think we’ve got enough experienced players in the team who have been around the game for years,” he said. “I’m only new to it so this is a whole new experience for me, but I’m learning every day.
“We’ve got a squad of players and now we need each other more than ever. We’ve got Chelsea next Wednesday and we’ll be giving the exact same effort.
“We’ve got a bit more recovery time now, so we need to go into that game giving it a good old shot, then obviously it comes down to the games we’ve got against the teams around us, which will be even tougher.
“Look, we know we’re in a tough position. No-one wants to be where we are, but I’m confident and the lads are confident that we can get out of this, and we need a couple of wins.”
The next opportunity to register a victory comes at London Stadium next Wednesday evening, when Rice will face his old club, Chelsea.
While supporters will not be present due to COVID-19 restrictions, the outstanding youngster knows fans will be demanding their team give their all to complete a double over Frank Lampard’s Blues.
After that, West Ham face Newcastle United, Burnley, Norwich City, Watford, Manchester United and Aston Villa, and Rice believes the Hammers can finish a uniquely challenging season with a flourish.
“The minimum is 100 per cent effort against teams like Chelsea, Spurs, the top six, that’s the minimum and that’s all you should be giving,” he confirmed. “If you’re in the starting eleven and you’re playing against Chelsea, you already know it’s a London derby so you’re up for it.
“As soon as you’re out on the pitch you want to make things happen and you need to give 100 per cent as that’s what the fans deserve and that’s what the manager deserves.
“Like I said, we’ve got a bit more recovery time now, but there’s no time to wait around now. It’s getting really serious. No-one wants to be where we are, let me tell you, it’s horrible, so we need to stay calm, stay confident and start picking up some points.
“There are seven games to go now and we need to go into them thinking we’re going to win all seven. It’s going to be tough, but if we have the right mentality for sure, and if we stick together, it can be done.”