Declan Rice has admitted West Ham are learning to win ugly after continuing their incredible season with a 2-0 victory over an attacking Leeds side on Monday night.
The Hammers have kept their remarkable Champions League hopes alive after Jesse Lingard and Craig Dawson both netted in the first half – with the victory putting them just two points behind Chelsea in fourth with a match in hand.
But despite seeing off Leeds, West Ham skipper and England international Rice admitted he was disappointed with his side’s performance.
Declan Rice and his West Ham team-mates have continued their incredible league form
Rise told Sky Sports following the final whistle: ‘Once that first goal came, we settled down and I think now we’re starting to learn to win ugly.
‘We didn’t play the best, but we’re grinding out those results, we’ve got a real solidity about us and long may that continue.’
Leeds caused West Ham plenty of problems throughout at the London Stadium, and had in fact found the net twice in the opening stages only for both goals to be ruled out.
Tyler Roberts saw his finish ruled out for a marginal offside against Helder Costa, while Raphinha ran the ball out of play before crossing to Patrick Bamford who struck home.
And Rice has admitted that West Ham had in fact played much better during their narrow defeat at Manchester City last weekend.
Despite the 2-0 victory over Leeds, Rice admitted he was ‘disappointed’ with the display
‘Speaking honestly, I’m disappointed with the performance,’ he added. ‘Yes, we’ve won 2-0, we scored two goals, but if you compare the two performances where we played Manchester City last week and we’ve played Leeds here tonight, at Manchester City, we were brave, we took the ball, played well, had loads of chances, a real performance.
‘Tonight, Leeds caused us problems. The first 10, they came out really, really sharp, two disallowed goals and as players on the pitch, you need to wake yourself up and get yourself into the game.’
But while Rice expressed his frustration with his side’s display, Manchester United loanee Lingard admitted that the three points is all that mattered on Monday night.
Lingard told Sky Sports: ‘We started slow and weren’t confident on the ball. We got the goals but if we want to push on for top four we need to be better.’
Jesse Lingard and Craig Dawson scored for the Hammers at the London Stadium on Monday
He added: ‘It is about consistency. We dropped off it a bit today. But the three points are important. We take each game step by step. We learn from each. It is not going to be easy every game. Leeds gave us a good game today. It is about objectives and taking confidence into the next game.’
After Leeds’ early flurry, West Ham went ahead in the 21st minute after Lingard struck home from the rebound after his penalty – which he won himself – was saved by Illan Meslier.
The Hammers then doubled their lead seven minutes later when Dawson headed home Aaron Cresswell’s corner.