Rice still confident West Ham can challenge

West Ham United
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is delighted with Sebastien Haller's impact since his arrival during the summer transfer window.

West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice says his team can still finish in the top six despite a rough few weeks in the Premier League.

Rice has been part of the Hammers side that have dropped to 13th in the league table, after they failed to win any of their last five matches in the top flight.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side have lost three of their last five games, with Saturday’s defeat to Newcastle United particularly galling.

The Magpies raced into a 3-0 lead after goals from Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez before Jonjo Shelvey scored a free-kick. West Ham did show some fight, Fabian Balbuena and Robert Snodgrass finding the net, but it was too little too late.

West Ham have not won at the London Stadium since they picked up back-to-back wins against Norwich and Manchester United. Their last success came on September 22, and they have since lost to Newcastle, Crystal Palace and drawn with Sheffield United.

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Rice, who has kept his place in the England squad for the upcoming qualifiers, concedes his team have hit a “little blip” of late, but he still believes they have what it takes to finish in the European places.

He told Sky Sports: “100 per cent. I think if you look from fifth to about 13th, there’s about four points between six or seven teams. So you just have to keep working hard. If we beat Burnley on the weekend, you’re back up to seventh or eighth, so it’s not too far away.

“Our confidence was so high at the start of the season. We’re going through a little blip now, it happens to every team. It’s about how we get out of it.”

Saturday’s game in Lancashire is West Ham’s final encounter before the international break before they then welcome Tottenham to the London Stadium.

That fixture starts a tricky run for the club, with games against Chelsea, Wolves and Arsenal all to come before Christmas.

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