The young midfielder believes that Manuel Pellegrini’s methods are now instilled in his squad and his additions in the transfer window will only help them as they look improve next season.
Rice believes that should West Ham get off to a good start, they could be “well up there” when it comes to the end of the season.
The 20-year-old said in an interview on the club’s official website, “I think if you look at it, last season the start killed us, but we only finished, in the end, four points off seventh. If you think of the games we lost last season, which we should be getting results from, we could be well up there.”
West Ham finished tenth in the Premier League last season after a final day 4-1 victory away at Watford, eventually finishing four points behind Wolves, who finished seventh to seal entry into the Europa League qualifiers.
Rice is definitely right to set his sights on European football, and so must the rest of the Hammers squad – with Pellegrini having assembled a squad more than capable of pushing for the top seven in the league. Wolves haven’t exactly spent a huge amount more than West Ham recently and qualified ahead of them despite being in the Championship the season before last. With the additions of Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller, the Chilean has more than likely cemented a squad that he believes can bring a top-seven finish to East London. West Ham must have every hope of achieving European football, and now that Pellegrini has also had a full pre-season with his team, there can be no excuses should the Chilean fail to deliver it to the London Stadium. Nuno Espirito Santo has highlighted the blueprint to success in the Premier League after only one season, and Pellegrini must be the man to halt his progress and potentially take their spot next season.