Declan Rice is dreaming of Europe after West Ham entered the top four by beating Tottenham on Sunday.

The Irons extended their lead to nine points over their rivals and Rice thinks the team is transformed from last season.

He gave an interview to talkSPORT on Monday and was asked whether he thinks West Ham can qualify for Europe.

He said, (9.50am), “100%, definitely, I’d be wrong to sit here and say that’s not something I’m thinking about.

“We don’t fear anybody. Maybe the West Ham of last season would have caved in in that second half and conceded goals but now it’s completely different.”

The improvement David Moyes has made to the defence has been a key factor in West Ham’s change in success.

Rice is partly responsible for that alongside his midfield partner Thomas Soucek, who he had nothing but praise for.

“He’s so good … you don’t realise how much he actually does,” added Rice.

“He runs, he’s strong, he’s athletic, he’s in the air he gets in the box. He does everything you want a midfielder to do.

“Teams are coming up against the likes of Thomas and thinking ‘we don’t want to battle with him today’.

“He’s probably going to be our Player of the Year.”

European tour

The win over Spurs means there are now five points separating us from Everton in seventh place, and nine points to eighth-placed Aston Villa (who have played two games less).

We are brilliantly positioned to qualify for Europe even if our results tail off a little, therefore.

However, there is little sign of us dropping down the table.

After a poor performance in the defeat to Liverpool, a big response was needed and the boys have certainly delivered.

We have gone four league games unbeaten since, conceding just twice in the process.

Michail Antonio is back fit now too which is key, while Jesse Lingard is proving an inspired signing.

Also, the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and others challenging our place all have the distraction of European competition quality.

Unlike our rivals, we can concentrate solely on preparing for each Premier League game as it comes.

That gives us an advantage, and with confidence clearly high amongst the players we will compete against anyone – even Manchester City next week.

In other West Ham news, WHZ Tactics: How Pablo Fornals sunk Spurs to send West Ham into PL top-four.

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