Sunday 8 December 2019

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic: I'm a big fan of Andy Carroll

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has hailed
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has hailed "magnificent" striker Andy Carroll, pictured

Slaven Bilic hailed "magnificent" Andy Carroll after seeing his striker blast West Ham to a fifth Premier League victory in seven attempts at Middlesbrough.

The former Newcastle and Liverpool forward followed up last weekend's stunning volley against Crystal Palace with a bullet header and a close-range finish as the Hammers ran out 3-1 winners at the Riverside Stadium.

Delighted boss Bilic said: "He's as good as gold. I keep saying the same words about him week in, week out. I'm a big fan of him, but for a reason - he gives you everything.

"He's a magnificent player and I keep saying that from day one from last season. The only problem with him was that he wasn't all the time available. Apart from that, from the bench, impact brilliant, from the start, brilliant.

"He gives you everything, and when I say 'everything', it's not that he gives you all that he can, it's the quality about it."

Carroll's thunderous ninth-minute header set the ball rolling, and after Cristhian Stuani had levelled, he struck from close-range with substitute Jonathan Calleri adding a third in stoppage time.

Bilic, who withdrew the striker early as a precaution after he complained of a minor groin injury, said: "If he gets service in the box, he will score goals always.

"I'm a long time in football and I played at centre-back and it's only Duncan Ferguson who was on this level when the cross comes into the box.

"It doesn't have to be a brilliant cross, you just have to put the ball in and he is great. The way he scored the first goal, it was like a hammer.

"But it didn't surprise me. To be fair, I expected him to do things like that."

Carroll's return to form could hardly have been better-timed with Dimitri Payet in exile as he attempts to push through a move away from West Ham, and Bilic admits he cannot wait for the transfer window to close.

He said: "There's nothing new. The only good thing is today is the 21st, so it's going to finish in 10 days.

"I am not going to say anything new. There are two outcomes that are possible: for him to stay, and the second one is for him to leave us.

"But is it Marseille or any other club? He's a great player, he has his value and if he goes, we are not asking for anything crazy or whatever. We are asking for even less money than his value."

Bilic's mood was in stark contrast to that of opposite number Aitor Karanka, who branded the atmosphere at the Riverside as "awful".

Karanka said: "I am really upset with the last 10 minutes because we didn't play in the way that we have to play, in the way that we know to play, and it was because the atmosphere was awful today because they [the crowd] demanded a lot of the players.

"We don't know how to play in that way - playing that way we didn't create one chance. The team was broken on the pitch and it's a thing that I don't like at all, so we need to improve.

"They need to understand where we were last season, two seasons ago. I think these players deserve more respect.

"When I don't know how many thousand people are asking for long balls, at the end, you have to play long balls and it's a style that we don't know how to play. We didn't play one minute like that in the Championship last season and we got promoted.

"It's a thing that we have to fix because while I am here, I am not going to play long balls."

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