Belfast Telegraph

Hammers are united, insists Carroll

Middlesbrough 1-3 West Ham United

By Damian Spellman

Andy Carroll has saluted the team spirit which has united the West Ham dressing room in the wake of Dimitri Payet's plea to leave the club.

The Hammers were rocked by the news that their star man wanted to go earlier this month, but Slaven Bilic's side have responded in the best possible way by putting together back-to-back Premier League victories over Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough without him.

Carroll has been at the centre of that, scoring a stunning volley in a 3-0 demolition of Palace and then helping himself to a double on Saturday as his side claimed a 3-1 victory at the Riverside Stadium.

The 28-year-old striker said: "I think the lads have come together even stronger recently with everything that's going on and you can see on the pitch everyone is working together, putting the grit in and that's when the points come.

"The morale in the dressing room is fantastic. All the lads are having a laugh before and it's great to be around."

Carroll opened the scoring with a thunderous ninth-minute header from Manuel Lanzini's corner, and after Cristhian Stuani had levelled, struck again from when keeper Victor Valdes could only parry Michail Antonio's powerfully-struck shot.

Substitute Jonathan Calleri completed the job in stoppage time with his first goal for the club, a shot which deflected in off Adam Clayton.

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