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West Ham’s stand-in skipper insists this is not a relegation battle

PUBLISHED: 11:53 03 April 2017

West Ham United's Andy Carroll celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at KCOM Stadium (pic: Richard Sellers/PA Images).

West Ham United's Andy Carroll celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at KCOM Stadium (pic: Richard Sellers/PA Images).

PA Wire/PA Images

Hammers Carroll has faith in the team, in survival and in the boss

Andy Carroll of West Ham United scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Hull City and West Ham UnitedAndy Carroll of West Ham United scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Hull City and West Ham United

Never question Andy Carroll’s commitment to West Ham and to his manager Slaven Bilic.

Captain for the day, the giant Geordie gave everything to the cause on Saturday at Hull City. He scored one goal, went close with another header and when he came out to face the press after this 2-1 defeat there was no shirking his responsibility and no excuses.

“We thought we were playing well in the first half, we passed it well, got ourselves in the lead and they didn’t really worry us at all,” said the big man, who grabbed his seventh goal of the campaign with a fine finish.

“Second half they changed the formation and got on top with their goal, but even then we should have finished the game off to be honest.

“I am not saying that the second half was all bad. They got on top, but we still had chances to finish things off, even in the first half.

“But it is another tough afternoon, really disappointing to be 1-0 up and to lose the game.”

HULL, ENGLAND - APRIL 01: Andy Carroll of West Ham United, captain for the dayHULL, ENGLAND - APRIL 01: Andy Carroll of West Ham United, captain for the day

That defeat makes it four on the trot and with Arsenal to come tonight, the gap between the Hammers and the chasing pack is becoming worrying close. So does Carroll think that they are back in a relegation battle?

He shakes his head: “No, I wouldn’t say that. All the lads are disappointed at the minute, but once we get back in training, we will look forward to the Arsenal game.

“That is the only way you can look at it. It has been tough in those last four games, so we just have to make sure we bounce back.”

It was a milestone of a day for Carroll himself. He scored his 50th Premier League goal and also captained the side for the first time.

“It was the first time I hd led them out,” he smiled. “It was good. I didn’t really know what was going on, but I enjoyed it. But it was the result that mattered and we didn’t come off the pitch with anything, so it means nothing.”

The big striker showed his class with his first-half goal and he put it down to badgering the wide men!

Andy Carroll of West Ham United at the final whistle during the Premier League match between Hull City and West Ham UnitedAndy Carroll of West Ham United at the final whistle during the Premier League match between Hull City and West Ham United

“It was a great ball in,” he said. “I think the full backs and the wide men are sick of hearing me asking for the ball to be put it. ‘Cress’ has put a ball in from deep, I’ve made a move, took it down nicely and finished it well.”

Four defeats on the trot and everyone is starting to get jittery. So are the players still behind the manager?

Carroll is emphatic: “I think all the lads are behind him,” he said. “I don’t know where it has all come from and it is not affecting the players.

“We are all behind him 100 per cent, he is a great manager.”

That ‘great’ manager must now mastermind a way of getting a positive result against Arsenal tonight and Carroll is determined to try and make that happen.

“It is one of those games where you have to be up for it and if you are not, we have seen what that can do to us. We have to stick together as a team massively, concentrate all the way through.”

Even that may not be good enough, but it is great to know that a fit and firing Carroll is giving his all.

Can West Ham go down, I asked him as a parting shot?

“No chance,” he said.

Let’s hope he is right.

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