Declan Rice admits Lyon's overconfidence gave West Ham 'incentives' to win

15 April 2022 11:05

Declan Rice has confessed that West Ham felt particularly inspired to eliminate Lyon from the Europa League after watching the French side's behaviour in the week before the game.

The Hammers were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg, despite playing most of the match with ten men after Aaron Cresswell was shown a controversial red card - an incident amplified by Lyon striker Moussa Dembele's decision to wink at his bench after drawing the foul from Cresswell.

Later in the week, Lyon's English Twitter account chose to reply to a Europa League post by laughing at the idea that they wouldn't beat West Ham, to which Rice took great pleasure in pointing out after the match.

"It's special. Very, very special," Rice told BT Sport. "We knew it was a tough place to come, we knew they had top individual quality, but we knew with what we had on the pitch, our attacking players and what we had seen in the first game with them defensively, we knew we could score goals tonight.

"If you can't get up for these games then you shouldn't be playing football. The roar from the warm-up, it was spine-tingling and it gives you that fire in your stomach to go out there and perform.

"There were a few incentives for us. Dembele winking at the camera in the first leg then their Twitter admins were saying they don't know how they are not going to get through, but those things come back to bite you.

"We stayed quiet, put in a performance and now West Ham are in the semis. For all the fans, it is such a great night."

Hammers boss David Moyes could hardly contain his pride towards his team's accomplishment.

"I'm immensely proud of the players and the performance and probably more so, when you look back, of the performance in the second-half at the London Stadium last week when we were down to 10 men, which looked a really poor decision," he explained.

"The players stuck at it, never gave up, got a goal in front before we conceded. I don't think anyone, when they were putting questions to me earlier, thought we were going to make it tonight.

"We have a really great group of lads, I'm lucky. They have been great in the time I have been here and the journey in two years from trying to avoid relegation and now we are talking about getting to the semi-final of a major European tournament. It is fabulous and we are all going to look forward to it.

"It is huge what we have done in two years. We have not won any trophies yet but we are trying to compete and to qualify for European football again, if we can.

"To be getting to these latter stages, we have beaten Seville and Lyon now since getting through the group stages, big clubs that are used to European football.

"But we go again, you don't win anything for tonight but it was a big moment for us. Winning 3-0 away from home in Europe - a really good result."

Source: 90min