Rice full of praise for Hammers duo Lanzini and Benrahma
- Credit: PA
Declan Rice hailed match-winning contributions from Saïd Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini as West Ham United began 2022 with a hard-fought 3-2 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace.
Benrahma provided a perfect cross for Michail Antonio to put the Irons in front, before Lanzini lit up Selhurst Park again with a sensational left-foot strike and a well-taken penalty to send West Ham in three goals to the good at half-time.
However, Palace had missed opportunities of their own in the opening 45 minutes and finally found their shooting boots in the last ten minutes, pulling two goals back through Odsonne Édouard and Michael Olise.
But the Hammers held on to win a sixth Premier League away game and third London derby of the season to close within a point of fourth-place Arsenal.
Speaking afterwards, captain Rice was pleased with the win, but felt David Moyes’ team could and should have managed the game better in the second half.
“It was very tough. If you look at the game, in the first half we were probably luck to be in at 3-0 because of the chances they had, and then second half, we always talk about it as a team, that we need to be more confident, step up and put a bit more pressure onto them, but we sat back and gave away two sloppy goals.
“But, in the end, it’s three points, we’ve started the New Year well and we need to continue to build and be better.”
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Saïd Benrahma’s cross for the first goal invited Michail Antonio to score.
“It’s an amazing ball. He does that all the time in training and it’s just about getting that consistency. When he comes in off the right, whipping them balls in for the striker, he’s always a threat, and I’m buzzing for him to get the assist.
“I think he’s a player who needs confidence to perform. He’s one you need to put your arm around and make him feel like he’s the best player. In training he’s always on fire and in games you always see glimpses of magic from him.
“He probably didn’t have the ball as much as he’d have wanted tonight, but when he did he made it count and played some pivotal passes, which was massive for us.
“Manu is a special, special player and probably nobody else in the team would have been able to manoeuvre the ball that quick. For him to get another two goals, I’m delighted for him.”