Declan Rice pays ultimate compliment to Leeds United despite 'opportunity missed' for West Ham in Premier League thriller

Declan Rice paid Leeds United the ultimate compliment despite ruing an "opportunity missed" for his West Ham United side during Sunday's Premier League thriller in the capital.

By Lee Sobot
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 5:37 pm

The Irons approached the contest sat fourth in the table following three straight league wins but David Moyes' side were undone by a Jack Harrison hat-trick in a five-goal thriller.

The Hammers twice hit back to level at 1-1 and then 2-2 through goals from Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals respectively but Harrison's third and final strike in the 60th minute proved the winner.

West Ham' s England international midfielder Rice was left disappointed as his side missed the opportunity to close on third-placed Chelsea but the Irons ace said that facing Leeds presented the hardest test that the division had to offer.

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TOUGH SHIFT: West Ham United captain Declan Rice, right, looks on after Leeds United net for a third time through hat-trick hero Jack Harrison in Sunday's Premier League clash at the London Stadium. Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images.

“It’s very frustrating," said Rice, speaking to whufc.com"It was an opportunity to really push up in the table and get three points off Chelsea in second, so it’s an opportunity missed today, and a big one as well.

"Obviously we played Leeds last week and did really well and today we seemed to struggle, but that happens in football.”

Pressed on the demands of West Ham facing three games in eight days, Rice said: “You could see we were running all game and we were matching them.

"The way they play is man-for-man and I don’t think anyone really understands, until you’re on the pitch, what that’s like to play against.

"They’re the toughest team to play in the Premier League, regardless of the position they’re in, the way they play is really tough to play against.

"They did well, but we also had massive chances, so that’s why it’s frustrating.”

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