Captain Rice tries to remain upbeat after West Ham defeat

West Ham United's Declan Rice and Leeds United's Mateusz Klich battle for the ball at London Stadium

West Ham United's Declan Rice and Leeds United's Mateusz Klich battle for the ball at London Stadium - Credit: PA

West Ham United captain Declan Rice tried to remain upbeat after his side's 3-2 home defeat against Leeds on Sunday.

Jack Harrison's hat-trick earned the visitors the points on their return to London Stadium, just one week on from their FA Cup third-round exit at the hands of David Moyes' men.

And Rice, after a first defeat in five matches, admitted it was an opportunity missed to strengthen their claim for a Champions League place this season.

""It’s very frustrating. It was an opportunity to really push up in the table and get three points off Chelsea in second, so it’s an opportunity missed and a big one as well," he told whufc.com.

"Obviously we played Leeds last week and did really well and today we seemed to struggle, but that happens in football."

Harrison fired Leeds in front with only 10 minutes gone, but in-form Jarrod Bowen hit back to level for the Hammers.

And although Harrison bundled home his second goal of the game before half time, Pablo Fornals replied early in the second half with a second home equaliser.

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But after Harrison completed his treble on the hour, Bowen saw a late chance go to waste after Mateusz Klich and Andriy Yarmolenko both had efforts ruled out.

Leeds United's Jack Harrison (right) scores his side's third goal, completing his hat-trick, against West Ham

Leeds United's Jack Harrison (right) scores his side's third goal, completing his hat-trick, against West Ham at London Stadium - Credit: PA

Rice added: "The same thing happened in the Southampton game – we get back in the game and then are pushing for it and they end up scoring another goal.

"Silly mistakes just cost us and that’s unlike us as usually we’re compact and we’re solid and we don’t normally concede from corners, but we also had some great chances ourselves to draw the game or get ourselves in front.

"Jarrod’s one at the end, I thought he was going to go with his head, but we can’t say anything to Jarrod because he’s been absolutely brilliant for us with the goals his putting in and his assists.

"It’s one of those ones where maybe he saw it late. We were in it right until the end and that’s what we’re going to keep doing every game.

"We need to be positive. There is nothing to be down about. We’re still fourth and I think our fans would much rather be fourth than down the bottom of the table looking up.

"We need to keep pushing and see how far we can go. We’ve got a big game next week at Old Trafford, so we’ll see how we go up there."