Declan Rice: I don't want to play in the Championship next year
Declan Rice chatted to Capital Football after West Ham's 1-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Here is what he said:
Not just big for the manager - big for players, too?
"One hundred per cent. No one wants to be playing in the Championship, no one wants to be going down, especially with the squad we’ve got. We’ve slipped below our standards this year. There’ve been so many games where we’ve been leading and we’ve lost, so many games where we should’ve picked up a point and we’ve somehow come away losing. We’ve put ourselves in a bad situation but now we know the importance of getting out of it, we’ve known that since we’ve been in this seven or eight team mix. To win and to do it for each other, the club, the staff, everyone involved, it’s just so big today.
Could this still be a great season?
"One hundred per cent, my mindset has been so positive, even though the last two years have been so good and we’ve been up there at this time of the season, we’d have been sixth or seventh. To now have this type of season again, we’ve had to show a lot of character. It’s not over yet, there are some big games to play but if we only worry about ourselves and do what we can, it won’t matter about anybody else. Our fixtures are the most important so as long as we can deal with them, we’ll be just fine."
The class of 2003 had great players and went down, doesn’t seem right this squad should be down there?
"No, not at all. There’ve been so many games now this season that we can’t change the past but what we can change is moving forward. We’ve shown real good character in the last couple of weeks, other than the Newcastle game, so if we can keep that going I’m sure we’ll be just fine with this squad."
Wasn’t the sixth or seventh West Ham but showed good qualities?
"No, but if you look at the last two years we probably played counter-attacking football. So, that today probably was us of the last two years in terms of sitting in strong, being compact and hard to beat, and then catching teams on the counter-attack. That’s why we did so well in Europe, did so well in the Premier League. We probably played a bit better with the ball in those days and could have been a bit better with the ball today but I think that suits us most, when we counter-attack teams, with the likes of Benrahma, Antonio, Bowen. When we can get past that press and we’re out, I think we look frightening going forward.0
What was said after Newcastle?
The manger came in and it was really quiet, everyone was numb, hurt. It was a bit of a freak game because we started really well so to lose like we did was really tough to take. In fairness, the manager came in and said: ‘I hope you’re all ready to play Saturday. If I was you, I’d be wanting to go and play tomorrow’. That’s my mentality, too, and I know it is for a load of the others. The beauty of football is that you always get another game to prove your worth and after that defeat, we knew how big today was. To win that today, fair play to the manager because there was a lot of pressure on him, a lot of pressure on us. It was a big win."