Rice: Not qualifying for Europe would be a 'failure' for West Ham

West Ham's squad has the quality to be challenging for a place in the top seven, according to midfielder Declan Rice.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice   -  Getty Images

Declan Rice thinks anything less than European qualification this season should be a deemed a failure for West Ham.

Manuel Pellegrini guided the Hammers to a commendable 10th-placed finish in the Premier League last term.

The Chilean returns for a second season with a squad boosted by the acquisitions of Spanish midfielder Pablo Fornals and striker Sebastien Haller, a club-record signing from Eintracht Frankfurt.

Mercurial forward Marko Arnautovic left for Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG but England international Rice insists there can be no excuses for not moving up the table.

"We have to be aiming for Europe with the squad we have now," Rice told the BBC.

"Anything below that is a failure and most of the players would say that.

"We finished 10th, but we had so many chances to finish seventh. We have to improve our away form and our consistency."

 

Building on momentum

Rice, 20, will have a big say on West Ham's fortunes from the base of the midfield.

The academy product made 34 top-flight appearances last season after bouncing back from a tough first match against Liverpool at Anfield, where he was withdrawn at half-time of a 4-0 defeat.

"If you had said to me then I would have played three times for England, played nearly every game, won man-of-the-match awards and club awards, I would have said, 'No chance'," Rice said.

"I am really happy thinking about it, but I know I have to build on that this season."

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