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WEST HAM ran out easy winners in their 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday evening, controlling the game from the first minute to the last.
The game was only six minutes old when Declan Rice came through a crowd of players to head home a Robert Snodgrass corner.
Rice, who recently committed his international future to England, is hoping to help fire the Hammers into Europe.
The club are fighting for seventh which would see them in the Europa League next season.
“I think we deserved the win,” he said. “Newcastle have been in great form recently so we knew we had to be on our game.
“We had to treat the game like a final. I think you saw that in the first half. We were out of the box quick. We got an early goal and we kept pushing.
“We knew the second half would be tough but we were resilient and we defended well. We got the three points which is the main thing.
“Our London Stadium form is really important. We’ve really made it tough at time for teams to come here and play. We’ve played really well, especially against some top-six sides.
“These are the games, at home, where we should be winning. We’ve got the fans behind us. It’s important we keep pushing.”
Just before half-time, the Hammers doubled their lead.
Javier Hernandez went down in the area to earn his side a penalty. Mark Noble duly dispatched the penalty.
Newcastle showed promise at the start of the second half with Ayoze Perez pulling his cross-shot wide and Salomon Rondon being foiled by Lukasz Fabianski.
Rondon hit the post with a free-kick, while Manuel Lanzini saw his shot pushed wide by Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka.
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini was pleased with his side’s solid performance.
Pellegrini believes his team are improving with every game. The return of long-term injured players like Manuel Lanzini giving more options.
The manager expressed his admiration for Lanzini, who was “always asking for the ball.”
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez was disappointed with the performance. “I hope we don’t make the same mistakes in the next nine games,” said Benitez, who said he felt the quality of Newcastle’s players will see them through.
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