West Ham ‘special place to play’ says Rice as Hammers maintain sterling start to season

David Moyes' side were unlikely European challengers last term and remain in rich form, prompting their star man to pay tribute to their squad
David Moyes’ side were unlikely European challengers last term and remain in rich form, prompting their star man to pay tribute to their squad

Declan Rice says that West Ham is “a special place to play” after the Hammers cemented their status as top four challengers with a Premier League blowout against Aston Villa on Sunday.

David Moyes’ side were unlikely European challengers last term, just falling short of a Champions League finish a year after they beat off relegation following the Scotsman’s return to the club.

Now, they look to have picked up where they left off, level with Manchester City after a 4-1 triumph at Villa Park – and England international Rice admits that their squad feel something different.

What has been said?

It’s a special group at the minute, a special environment,” the playmaker told Sky Sports. “We wake up looking forward to training. Every game, we’ve been in it until the end.

“It’s a special place to play. We’re over the moon. We are joint third. The big question people asked before the season was whether we could do it again.

“We’ve found out we can. But still a lot more games to go. This is the level, the standard. We can’t drop if we want to be a big team.”

Moyes cautions lofty expectations

While West Ham’s rich form has driven them to heights rarely scaled in the Premier League era, their manager has been quick to insist that they are not getting ahead of themselves.

The ex-Everton and Manchester United boss has impressed upon his side the fickle nature, adding: “It’s been a great week. But you know what happens in football.

“It can turn around and bite you.We have another game on Thursday. I don’t want West Ham to become that flaky inconsistent team a lot of people remember them as.”

The bigger picture

West Ham will face two last tests of their fine form before they hit pause for the last time in 2021, with the November international break looming.

They travel away to Genk looking to maintain their strong Europa League record, as they eye a place in the knockout stages.

Then, they will square off with in-form Liverpool, themselves looking to bounce back following a surprise 2-2 draw with Brighton this weekend.West Ham ‘special place to play’ says Rice as Hammers maintain sterling start to season