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West Ham in touching distance of Premier League top six – Declan Rice

Declan Rice maintains West Ham have not given up on forcing themselves into the top six of the Premier League this season.

The Irons have not won in the league since beating Manchester United on September 22.

The 3-2 home defeat by Newcastle leaves Manuel Pellegrini’s men down in 13th place.

However, with the Hammers nevertheless still only four points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, midfielder Rice insists the focus remains very much looking up.

“It is frustrating,” the England international said. “The manager is feeling the same, the players are feeling the same.

“Our confidence was so high at the start of the season.

“We are going through a little blip now, it pretty much happens to every team. It is about how we get out of it.

“We need to be more confident on the pitch, more defensively structured and we need to take our chances.

“The games we played we have had chances to kill the game off.”

Rice said on Sky Sports News: “If you look from fifth to about 13th then there is only four points between about six or seven teams, so you just need to keep working hard.

“Beat Burnley at the weekend and you are back up to seventh or eighth, so it is not that far away.”

Rice was at the London Stadium on Wednesday to help mark the one-year anniversary of West Ham’s ‘Players’ Project’ community programme.

Players from the men’s, women’s and academy teams have given more than 300 hours of community time, directly working with over 2,000 people from the local community during the past 12 months.

Split into 11 strands, the project delivers over 30 programmes which span health, education, community initiatives and football development, engaging with up to 50,000 people per year.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady said: “One year ago we celebrated the launch of the Players’ Project and I am immensely proud of everything we have done so far, and everything we have committed to doing in the future.

“When we moved to the stadium, we came here with the aim of affecting change – bringing investment, making a positive economic impact, creating opportunities for people, for our community.”