DECLAN RICE questioned David Moyes’ tactics — as West Ham plunged further into trouble.
England star Rice felt the Irons’ strikers were isolated in Sunday’s derby defeat, which leaves them 18th in the Premier League.
And absent Antonio Contemasterminded Tottenham’s win — to move back into the top four — by sending texts to No 2 Cristian Stellini during the game.
Rice said: “When you play with five at the back and the three, like we set up today, maybe our strikers felt a bit isolated when we got the ball up to them — they didn’t really have enough around them, not enough support.”
Moyes led West Ham to sixth and seventh in the table in his two complete seasons since returning for a second spell as boss in December 2019.
This term is reminiscent of the relegation battle he faced when he first arrived.
The Hammers offered little as Spurs won thanks to goals from Emerson Royal and Son Heung-min.
And Scot Moyes said: “It’s been a problem all season, we haven’t been able to create.
“The players have been challenged now, let’s see who’s up for the fight.
“I will be looking to see the players and the colour of their eyes this week. You can imagine what the colour of mine will be.”
Spurs are back in the top four for the first time since New Year’s Eve and will stay there for two weeks, with Newcastle in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
They won it with boss Conte resting back in Italy as he continues recovery from gallbladder surgery.
His assistant Stellini said: “Conte sent some texts to the bench and they transferred it to me.
“He is good and can be involved, so that is fine.
“Sometimes I wanted to do things and I asked him — sometimes he told us to wait and sometimes he asked what we felt about players and their stamina.”
Stellini said he did not expect Conte to return for Sunday’s visit of Chelsea but the week after, either for the trip to Wolves or the Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Ac Milan.
Son started on the bench but hit his fifth Prem goal this season four minutes after coming on.
It was only the second time he had been dropped in the league this season — the first coming in September’s 6-2 thrashing of Leicester when he hit a second-half hat-trick.
Son, 30, said: “Nobody wants to sit on the bench but you have to accept it.
“The decision is always made by the manager.”
Tottenham hit out at the “utterly reprehensible” online racist attempts aimed at Son during the game.
Spurs have reported the trolling to the authorities and urged action against the offenders.