Declan Rice: We need to be collectively better
Declan Rice says West Ham United need to sharpen up in the final third following their opening-day Premier League defeat by Newcastle United.
The Hammers got into threatening positions repeatedly against the Magpies at London Stadium, completing more passes in the opposition half than their own and creating 15 goal attempts.
But just three of those attempts were on target, all three of which were comfortably saved by Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow, and Rice knows the quality of the Irons’ build-up play and finishing both need to improve.
We need to be collectively better. We know we’re going to be up for those games because we always are, so it’s a good chance to beat the top teams and get some points on the table
“I don’t think we could have played any worse, to be honest with you,” the No41 told Sky Sports. “It was poor as a team and individually. The manager has said to us that it was such a poor game from us and there is no time to be playing poorly in the Premier League and we found that out last season.
“We started well and then we went through a dip in form and we found ourselves in the deep end and it’s not enjoyable.
“We created some chances but it’s about turning those chances into goals. It was the first game and we definitely wanted to start on the right foot and get the three points but that wasn’t to be, so now we have to focus on the next game.”
When asked why the Hammers had been below their best, the England international said it was a combination of indifferent play from the hosts and resilient play from the visitors.
“I don’t know, to be honest with you, but some things just weren’t going our way, whether it was slack passing or the rustiness of our touches,” he explained. “We weren’t creating enough or playing in behind them or stretching them.
“They set up well to be fair to them and made it difficult for us, so there were a couple of things I’d put it down to.”
With a testing run of fixtures coming up, with Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool all on the agenda before the end of October, Rice knows the Hammers need to rediscover the form they showed in the closing weeks of last season, and fast.
“We know the games we’ve got coming up are really tough,” he confirmed. “They’re the games we normally turn up in, but we’ve got to turn up in these types of goals as well because last year we beat Chelsea home and away and we beat other big teams, like Manchester United, but then Newcastle come here and beat us.
“We need to be collectively better. We know we’re going to be up for those games because we always are, so it’s a good chance to beat the top teams and get some points on the table.”