West Ham captain Declan Rice says his side are “underachieving as a group”, but that any pressure on manager David Moyes after Saturday’s home defeat by Leicester is “nonsense”.
The Hammers have suffered nine defeats this season, with four of those coming at the London Stadium – having lost five home games in the whole of last season.
Rice said it is “probably the best West Ham side we’ve had in years”, but added: “If you look at the quality of players we have at the moment, we are underachieving as a group.”
The players were booed at the full-time whistle after the 2-0 defeat by Leicester, with many supporters leaving the ground after Harvey Barnes doubled the Foxes’ lead following James Maddison’s opener.
Moyes said: “When you’re 2-0 down, there’s always a chance of that [fans leaving], but when things aren’t going so well you need people to stick together and get on with it. We know we need to do much better.”
The defeat caps a miserable week for the Hammers, who conceded a last-minute goal against Crystal Palace in the league last week to lose 2-1, then were knocked out by Blackburn on penalties in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
“We’re the players and we’ve got the quality so it’s down to us to create the chances, to score the goals, to defend, and at the minute it’s not swinging in our favour,” Rice added.
‘Moyes has been unbelievable’
West Ham sit 16th in the Premier League going into the World Cup break, one point above the relegation zone, with one win in their last five games.
They have failed to score in seven of their 15 Premier League games, the worst record of any side in the league this season, but Rice said Moyes’ job should not come under pressure.
“It’s nonsense,” he said. “If you look at what he’s done for this club, how he’s brought us back from where we’ve been…
“Every team is going to have a blip and of course there’s always pressure in these moments, but no way should there be pressure on the manager because he’s been unbelievable for us.”
Moyes began his second stint with the Hammers in 2019 and, after steering them away from relegation that season, has guided them to sixth then seventh-placed finishes in the league.
They have also competed in their first Europa League under Moyes, where they reached the semi-finals in 2021-22, and are going well in this year’s Europa Conference League, finishing top of their group to qualify for the round of 16.
Moyes said he could understand the boos and the external pressure, but that he hopes fans will remember their recent achievements.
“This club is used to being in the top six or seven the last couple of years so I can understand that [boos],” Moyes said.
“It’s always fair [for people to say he’s under pressure] – I’m a manager and have been a manager for a long time but sometimes it’s easy to forget what we’ve done. Obviously if you’re not doing so well then you’re always under pressure.”