Rice: Hammers must stay calm for run-in

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 June 2020

Declan Rice looks on as Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela beats West Ham's Fabian Balbuena during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Declan Rice looks on as Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela beats West Ham's Fabian Balbuena during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

PA Wire/PA Images

West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice says they need to remain calm during their fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The 21-year-old Rice impressed during his side’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham in midweek, wearing the captain’s armband for the last 20 minutes after Mark Noble was replaced.

But the Hammers suffered a second straight defeat since play was restarted after a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Tomas Soucek’s own goal just past the hour mark followed by a late Harry Kane effort.

David Moyes’ men could find themselves in the bottom three by the time they welcome Chelsea to London Stadium on Wednesday (8.15pm) but England international Rice told West Ham TV: “I think we’ve got enough experienced players in the team who have been around the game for years.

“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 and we’ll all be giving the exact same effort.

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“We’ve got a bit of recovery time, 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.

“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 we can get out of this.”

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min had an effort ruled out in the first half by VAR, while Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio were off the mark for the visitors.

But the hosts took the lead when Soucek turned the ball into his own net, after it appeared to brush the arm of Davinson Sanchez, and Jarrod Bowen hit a post before Kane’s clincher.

Rice added: “The minimum is 100 per cent effort against teams like Chelsea, Spurs, the top six. If you’re playing against Chelsea, you know it’s a London derby so you’re up for it.

“It’s getting really serious. 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.”

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