West Ham midfielder Declan Rice said he and his teammates went out of the Europa League “on a high” against Eintracht Frankfurt despite the defeat and blamed the officiating as being “against” them.
The Hammers’ European journey came to an end in Germany as Frankfurt backed up their 2-1 first-leg victory in London with another win against David Moyes ’s side on Thursday evening. West Ham weren’t helped in the first half when Aaron Cresswell was shown a red card by Jesús Gil Manzano after hauling down Jens Petter Hauge as the last defender.
The hosts didn’t take the advantage from the subsequent free-kick on the edge of the box but did go ahead a few moments later as Rafael Santos Borré converted from close range after being found open in the area by Ansgar Knauff.
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West Ham pushed in search of a way back into the tie but failed to get things going, with Frankfurt happy to slow the game down with a series of fouls during the second half. Manzano had brandished nine cards to players by full-time, as well as sending Moyes off for remonstrating on the sidelines, with Rice criticising the officials’ performance after.
“The sending off was probably a sending off looking back at it,” said the midfielder. “But some of the other decisions were poor tonight, none seemed to go for us. The referee seemed to make every decision go for them. In the end, when you’ve got someone who is against you, you can’t really do much.”
Rice was also unsure, despite defeat in both legs, if Frankfurt were as good as a side as they appeared, suggesting that their opponents in the last-16 (Sevilla) and quarter-finals (Lyon) were tougher to navigate past. Instead, it was conceding early in the first leg at the London Stadium and being reduced to ten men early in the second leg that killed the Hammers’ chances.
“A sending off is always going to make it a mountain to climb,” added Rice. “We had a genuine belief that over two legs they weren’t going to beat us. Of course, they’re a good side but no way are they better than what Sevilla and Lyon were.” He added: “Looking back over the two legs, probably the first leg it was the first goal that killed us and it’s always a mountain to climb from there.”
David Moyes was in agreement, telling BT Sport afterwards: “If we’re honest we probably lost the tie in the first 30 seconds of the game at the London Stadium where we conceded early. From that moment, we were chasing the game, really.”
Source by Football London