EPL

Rice ignoring transfer rumours ahead of Manchester United meeting

By Sports Desk September 21, 2019

Declan Rice has insisted he would not have signed a long-term contract with West Ham if he was targeting a move to Manchester United.

England international Rice agreed a new deal at the London Stadium in December, tying him to the Hammers until 2024.

Speculation over his future still arose during the close season as United reportedly considered making an approach amid a concerted effort from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to refresh his squad.

But as the clubs prepare to meet in the Premier League this weekend, midfielder Rice made his loyalties clear.

"I've signed a long-term, five-year contract last season and if I didn't want to sign it, I wouldn't have done it," Rice told The Mirror.

"It makes me a West Ham player for the next five years and I'll be giving my best for the team and the supporters.

"All I can do is to keep my head down, play my football and I'm not taking any notice of what's going on outside."

West Ham and the Red Devils are level on eight points ahead of Sunday's match, the two clubs having both won two of their opening five games.

Victory at home would boost the Hammers' belief of breaking into the European places this term, a stated aim under Manuel Pellegrini.

"As a club, we want to get into Europe and his track record says he usually gets there," Rice said.

"If we make it this season that's a bonus, but we need to keep pushing.

"We produced a great performance at home to beat United 3-1 last season. We know it's another massive game and a chance to move up the table.

"Every time we play the top clubs, we look forward to it and we know the place is going to be rocking on Sunday."

Related items

  • BREAKING NEWS: Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix set for spell out with sprained ankle ligament BREAKING NEWS: Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix set for spell out with sprained ankle ligament
    Joao Felix is set for a spell on the sidelines after Atletico Madrid confirmed he suffered a grade two sprain to a right ankle ligament against Valencia.
  • It's nothing to do with us - Pochettino explains VAR confusion over Alli equaliser It's nothing to do with us - Pochettino explains VAR confusion over Alli equaliser

    Mauricio Pochettino felt sympathy towards Watford following confusion over the outcome of a VAR check for Tottenham's late equaliser on Saturday.

    The Premier League's bottom club led 1-0 away at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for much of the contest following Abdoulaye Doucoure's sixth-minute strike.

    Watford also had a strong appeal for a penalty dismissed following a review – Gerard Deulofeu going down following a sliding challenge from Jan Vertonghen – before Spurs levelled in the closing stages.

    Dele Alli capitalised on a collision between visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster and substitute Kiko Femenia, though VAR was required to see if the scorer had used his arm to control the ball before finishing with his left foot.

    The decision initially flashed up as 'no goal' on the big screen – despite the score on display changing to 1-1 – but Pochettino confirmed the misunderstanding was down to the Premier League, rather than a Spurs employee. He was also adamant the right call was made in the end, insisting Alli had used his shoulder and not his arm.

    "It's nothing to do with us, it's dependent on the Premier League. We don't manage that situation," he told the media.

    "But, of course, I understand that it was a little bit confusing and it was tough for Quique [Sanchez Flores], because he thought it was no goal. 

    "But it's not Tottenham's responsibility, it's the Premier League's responsibility and of course like everyone, maybe the guy who pressed the button made a mistake. Everyone can make a mistake. 

    "The most important thing is when you check the goal, it was a goal, it came off his shoulder and I think it was legal. But I can understand that for Watford, Quique and their players, I feel so, so bad."

    Tottenham needed a helping hand to grab a point after another below-par display, the result following on from back-to-back defeats prior to the international break.

    Pochettino hopes his squad can now begin to turn the corner following a difficult spell.

    "It was so important in the way that we achieved the point in the end, the team was fighting, we showed character," the former Southampton boss said. 

    "We have quality but when you are in this type of situation the most important thing is the character you need to show. Talent comes after, you need to fight and you need to run and you need to be strong in your mind.

    "When everything is good you fly, when everything is going against you you need to be so strong and you spend a lot of energy because every single action you expect to score or create a chance.

    "This is the first step to build our confidence again."

  • Premier League Review: Alli saves Spurs as Man City return to winning ways Premier League Review: Alli saves Spurs as Man City return to winning ways

    Tottenham were rescued by a late equaliser as Dele Alli salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to the Premier League's bottom club Watford.

    Having gone into the international break on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, which followed on from their 7-2 capitulation to Bayern Munich, Spurs looked set to become the first team to lose to Watford in the league this term until a mix-up between Ben Foster and Kiko Femenia presented Alli with the chance to sweep in a late equaliser.

    Chelsea claimed a fifth successive win in all competitions by beating Newcastle United 1-0 as Frank Lampard's side temporarily moved up to third, a place behind Leicester City, who came from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 thanks to goals from Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans.

    Leicester and Chelsea were then overtaken by Manchester City, however, as the defending champions – who started with Rodri and Fernandinho in the centre of defence – beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park.

    Aston Villa overcame 10-man Brighton 2-1, courtesy of a late effort from Matt Targett, who had been picked out by the excellent Jack Grealish, while Bournemouth shared the points with struggling Norwich City and Raul Jimenez's penalty earned Wolves a point against Southampton.

    In the early kick-off, Everton claimed a much-needed 2-0 victory over West Ham at Goodison Park to hand under-pressure Marco Silva a lifeline.

    WATFORD MIX-UP RELIEVES THE PRESSURE ON POCHETTINO

    It looked to be going from bad to worse for Spurs, who fell behind early on at home when Abdoulaye Doucoure swept home from Daryl Janmaat's cross to increase the pressure on boss Mauricio Pochettino.

    Tottenham dominated throughout, though Watford will point to what appeared to be a valid penalty appeal which was turned down by both the referee and VAR after Jan Vertonghen had slid into Gerard Deulofeu.

    Foster made a terrific save to tip Son Heung-min's strike onto the crossbar early in the second half, but confusion between Watford's goalkeeper and Femenia ensured Alli salvaged a point.

    Having raced out to claim a cross, Foster appeared to hesitate, only managing to bundle into Femenia, who headed directly to Alli, who lashed in from a tight angle - VAR confirming the goal.

    CHELSEA AND LEICESTER INTO THE TOP FOUR

    The Blues are hitting their stride under Lampard, though they looked set to be frustrated by Newcastle until Marcos Alonso's second-half winner.

    With Tammy Abraham and Willian having squandered great chances, Newcastle's resolve was broken when their goalkeeper Martin Dubravka failed to keep hold of Alonso's strike.

    Chelsea are level on points with Leicester, who bounced back from their defeat at Anfield last time out with a hard-fought victory over Burnley.

    The Foxes restored parity through Vardy - who cancelled out Chris Wood's opener - before Tielemans hammered home with 16 minutes remaining. The Clarets thought they had snatched a draw late on, only for Jonny Evans' own goal to be contentiously disallowed.

    CITY CLOSE THE GAP

    Liverpool's lead at the top has, temporarily at least, been reduced to five points as City eased to a 2-0 win over Palace through goals from Gabriel Jesus and David Silva.

    With Nicolas Otamendi injured and John Stones deemed not ready to start, Pep Guardiola opted to go with Rodri and Fernandinho at the back, though Palace could not test the makeshift pairing before Jesus headed City in front.

    Silva added another with a sublime volley before the break, with City going for the jugular in the second half – though they were denied a penalty, Kevin De Bruyne hit the post and Raheem Sterling missed a golden chance to wrap up the points.

    Ederson was called into action twice late on, but City were not made to pay for their profligacy as they returned to winning ways and edged closer to Liverpool, who face Manchester United on Sunday.

    SILVA EASES THE PRESSURE

    Everton entered Saturday's early match on the back of four successive league defeats, but the Toffees handed Silva a boost with a dominant display against West Ham - Bernard putting them ahead with a cute finish after some sublime footwork got him through a crowd of defenders.

    Silva's side could easily have extended their lead, with Richarlison and Theo Walcott hitting the post and crossbar respectively while Everton also had two goals disallowed.

    West Ham might have snatched an unlikely point if not for Jordan Pickford's save from Angelo Ogbonna's close-range effort, but the points were wrapped up when Gylfi Sigurdsson arrowed in his first league goal of the season in stoppage time as Everton ended their dismal run.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.