Declan Rice ‘playing for a strong team’ despite ‘sickening’ defeat that ended Champions League dream, says David Moyes as Chelsea and Man United transfer links continue


An emotional Declan Rice saw his Champions League dream with West Ham have come to an end, but manager David Moyes doesn’t think that means he will leave.

The 10-man Hammers failed to qualify for the Europa League final with a 1-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, losing 3-1 on aggregate to end their incredible European adventure.

West Ham’s European trip came to an abrupt end
Declan Rice 'playing for a strong team' despite 'sickening' defeat that ended Champions League dream, says David Moyes as Chelsea and Man United transfer links continue
And Rice’s future is now under the microscope.

A victory in the final would have seen the London side qualify for next season’s Champions League, but that dream is now over, with the club 11 points clear of a top four finish in the Premier League.

Defeat will inevitably lead to speculation over England’s star midfielder Rice, with Chelsea and Manchester City now able to offer what West Ham cannot – a place in Europe’s top tier.

David Moyes’ valuation of his No.41 has risen from £100m to £150m after such a successful campaign, but ambition for Champions League trophies and football could prove tempting .

Moyes, however, disagrees, being asked if the loss makes a difference to Rice’s future post-game matchup.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I think we have a strong squad, he’s been under contract for over three years.”

Rice wasn’t too happy with the loss though, punching out referee Jesus Gil Manzano in his post-match interview.


Declan Rice 'playing for a strong team' despite 'sickening' defeat that ended Champions League dream, says David Moyes as Chelsea and Man United transfer links continue
A frustrated Rice hit the referee after the game
Getty

“Obviously the [Aaron Creswell] the dismissal was probably a dismissal come to think of it, but some of the other decisions were poor tonight,” he said.

“Nothing seemed to be going for us. The ref seemed to make all the decisions for them, and in the end when you have someone against you, you can’t really do much.

Rice compared the defeat to losing the Euro 2020 final with England, and also explained how he wanted to win for Mark Noble, whom he will replace as club captain at the end of the season.

The 23-year-old said: It’s sickening. The guys are pampered. I’m disgusted, but I’ve been in this position before. I lost in the European Championship final and we couldn’t go any lower than that, but it’s that low too.

Declan Rice 'playing for a strong team' despite 'sickening' defeat that ended Champions League dream, says David Moyes as Chelsea and Man United transfer links continue
It’s the second time in a year that Rice has fallen just short of fame
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“But I learned from that and the guys need to know we’ll be back. These are great experiences of our careers, and I’m sure we’ll be back.

“There’s something special about West Ham fans. How much they care about you. How much they talk about you. Of course it hasn’t been easy over the years, but there has been a certain light this year in terms of what we have done as a team.

“I am proud to play in front of these fans who cheer me on and shout my name. I was sent videos of them in downtown Frankfurt. A friend of mine is a West Ham fan who has been to every away game. It is special.

“We deserve these nights and I’m just gutted. We see Rangers are in the final and what a final it could have been. It wasn’t meant to be.

“These things happen in football. We will be back and I want to say a big thank you to the fans for all their support. There are three games left.

Declan Rice 'playing for a strong team' despite 'sickening' defeat that ended Champions League dream, says David Moyes as Chelsea and Man United transfer links continue
Rice was desperate to go all the way for Noble
Getty

“That [Noble] was on my mind throughout this tournament. He is coming to an end and I think he has 15 or 16 days left. He won promotions and stuff, but that would have topped it all off.

“What a career it would have been for him. And that was on my mind throughout this tournament, for all he has done for this Club.

“It wasn’t meant to be. We will go back and make his last game special.

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