Declan Rice believes West Ham still have positive targets

Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard (left) and West Ham United's Declan Rice battle for the

Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard (left) and West Ham United's Declan Rice battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the American Express Community Stadium, Brighton. Picture date: Saturday May 15, 2021. - Credit: PA

Declan Rice believes this West Ham United team still have positive targets in their sights following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The 22-year-old midfielder made his return to manager David Moyes’ starting eleven at the Amex Stadium, having been out of action since mid-March through injury.

His energy proved a valuable addition to the Irons’ cause in a lively encounter on the south coast, with both teams having their opportunities to take the lead, but spurning them prior the closing stages.

When goals did eventually arrive, however, they did so in quickfire fashion, Danny Welbeck racing clear to dink Brighton in front with just over five minutes remaining, before West Ham responded moments later with an exquisite finish by second-half substitute Said Benrahma.

The Algeria international’s curling effort – his first goal for West Ham since his arrival from Brentford in the summer – kept the Irons on course, with two games remaining, to surpass the Club’s record Premier League points total, which currently stands at 62 (set in 2015/16).

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Such an achievement may yet prove enough to secure the Hammers European football next season, although Saturday’s draw realistically ends their Champions League aspirations.

“If you want to be competing for the Champions League, you need to win the games that we’ve lost, but we’re still going to be upbeat," Rice told Sky Sports.

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“It’s a point. We thought we dominated the game, to be honest. They had a good couple of passages of play, but we’ve missed so many chances. I think us scoring was probably a fair result.

“We’re still going to be upbeat. If you compare our last two seasons – last year to this year – the turnaround’s been phenomenal. The season’s been a pleasure to be a part of, with the manager and the players. 

“We’re on 59 points now and we can finish on 65 points if we win our last two games. That would mean West Ham’s best-ever Premier League season, and hopefully still some form of European football. There are still plenty of positives to look forward to.”

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