West Ham United defensive midfielder, Declan Rice did not forget how Lyon and their social media handlers trolled the Premier League club after the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final clash in London.
Recall that on April 7, 2022, Lyon visited London for the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final round, the game ended in a 1-1 draw. During the game, Lyon outplayed the Premier League in all aspects.
The game was so one-sided that Lyon recorded 72 percent of the ball possession with 718 passes and 88 percent pass accuracy. The French side recorded 23 shots, four of which were on target.
As for West Ham United, the hosts of the tie managed to record 28 percent of the ball possession. The Premier League side manage to have just five shots on target, three of which were on target. West Ham struggled so much in the game that they were able to make just 278 passes, with 68 percent pass accuracy.
After 90 minutes of a one-sided game, West Ham took the lead in the 52nd minute even though they played with a one-man down. Lyon managed to score the equalizer in the 66th minute.
Despite that, after the game, Lyon’s 25-year-old striker, Moussa Dembélé winked to the camera which was believed to be a degrading message to West Ham United.
Lyon’s official Twitter page handlers also began a campaign to make it look like West Ham United were pushovers. The handlers went as far as saying that they don’t see why they would not knock out West Ham from the Europa League.
On the contrary, in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie, West Ham United stunned Lyon 3-0 in France to knock out the French club 4-1 on aggregate.
Declan Rice who scored one of the goals that helped West Ham to qualify for the semi-final stage of the tournament described the trolling they got from Lyon as an incentive to beat the French club away from home. He also described West Ham’s qualification for the semi-final stage of the competition as “very special”.
“It’s special. Very, very special,” Declan 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 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.”
Declan Rice believes West Ham United can handle Eintracht Frankfurt
On the day West Ham United silenced Lyon by knocking them out of the Europa League, German Bundesliga side, Eintracht Frankfurt stunned FC Barcelona 3-2 at Nou Camp to knock out the Spanish giants 4-3 on aggregate.
West Ham will now face Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final stage of the Europa League campaign this season. The first leg of the tie will take place in London on April 28 while the second leg of the tie will take place in Germany on May 5, 2022.
Ahead of the tie, Declan Rice said for Frankfurt to knock out FC Barcelona from the tournament showed that the German side should not be taken lightly.
“For Frankfurt to beat Barca, they are a top side, you can’t overlook that”, Declan Rice said. “Whether it was a poor night from Barca, you’ve still got to score three against them.
“We will be ready for whatever. Two games again but we know what we want – to reach the final and we’ll give it everything.”
🙌 THE SCENES TO END ALL SCENES 🙌 pic.twitter.com/cUml26cCSZ— West Ham United (@WestHam) April 14, 2022
Declan Rice’s stats so far this season:
Though Declan Rice is just 23-year-old, he has grown to become one of the most important players at West Ham United. Due to how important he has been at the club, the Premier League club renewed his contract in 2018 and made him an assistant captain.
The deal he signed with West Ham United in 2018 reportedly earns the 23-year-old defensive midfielder £156,000 per week. His contract with West Ham will expire on June 30, 2024.
So far this season, the England international has played 45 times for West Ham in which he scored 5 goals and provided four assists. His current transfer market value is €75 million.
Declan Rice who has played for the Ireland Republic from the under-17 level to the country’s senior team decided to switch his allegiance to England in 2019. Since he made his international debut with the Three Lions of England on March 22, 2019, Rice has played 29 times for the team and has scored two international goals.
Those post-match scenes with our fans and our players. Unforgettable ❤️ pic.twitter.com/J2UPDR0YFg— West Ham United (@WestHam) April 15, 2022