Sunday 17 Oct
Updated Sunday 17 Oct 19:00

Declan Rice: We just love away days this season!

Declan Rice against Everton

No side has a better away record in the Premier League so far this season than West Ham United.

And when you observe the characteristics of the performance that led to Sunday afternoon’s 1-0 win over Everton – the Toffees’ first home defeat of 2021/22, and the Irons’ fifth win in six away games in all competitions – it’s easy to see why.

Granted a tough assignment against an in-form Everton team, captain Declan Rice and his West Ham teammates controlled large stretches of the game, causing the Goodison Park crowd to grow audibly jittery as the Irons dominated possession of the ball.

When they did eventually find their killer touch in front of goal – Angelo Ogbonna’s near-post header with 16 minutes remaining – the Hammers, backed to the hilt once again by a vocal travelling Claret and Blue Army, were just as defiant in protecting their lead. 

“It was a really tough game today,” Rice told Sky Sports. “I thought it was an excellent performance though. 

“If you compare it to the one against Brentford [a 2-1 defeat] before the international break, we weren’t quite at it [that day], but today, from the start, we dominated the ball and passed it around lovely. 

“In the first half, again we were getting frustrated because we didn’t put a chance in the back of the net, but then the big man [Ogbonna] heads one in and you’re defending for your life!

“You’re breaking up the pitch and you’re winning tackles, the final whistle goes, and it’s a really good moment.”

West Ham’s fine form on the road marks a continuation of their exploits in the Premier League last season, when David Moyes’ team won a Club-record nine away matches.

Our fans love coming away to watch us and as players we like travelling around and playing away at stadiums like this

Declan Rice

Everton become the third team to suffer defeat at home to the Hammers in this season's top-flight, with the east London side already recording impressive victories at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park and Leeds United’s Elland Road.

Add to those a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup, and a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb at Maksimir Stadium in the UEFA Europa League, and Rice and his teammates are clearly relishing such occasions.

Rice smiled: “I think we just love away days! 

“Our fans love coming away to watch us and as players we like travelling around and playing away at stadiums like this. 

“We knew today was going to be really tough. If we’d have lost today, we’d have been on eleven points and in the bottom half of the table. 

“It’s good for our mentality that if we want to keep pushing and being a better team, trying to improve this Football Club, we need to be up and around the top teams, so today was so important.”

Ahead of Sunday’s late kick-off between Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur, the Irons’ 1-0 win at Goodison Park boosted them up to sixth in the Premier League table.

Rice concluded: “If you look at the competitions we’re in, it’s game after game at the moment. 

“We’ve got seven games in 21 days and I feel like, with that amount of fixtures coming up, we need to be consistent. If you start losing games, it becomes harder to get back up the table. 

“With the group of players we’ve got now, and the quality of player we can bring off the bench, the squad, at the moment, is in a really good place. Long may that continue.”