Sunderland 1 West Ham 2: Sam Allardyce left to ponder what could have been as Andy Carroll strikes once again
Carroll's injury woes have been well documented but striker netted the opening goal in the victory over the Black Cats
Tuesday 01 April 2014
West ham boss Sam Allardyce was left to reflect on how things might have been had Andy Carroll been fit all season after a significant victory at Sunderland.
The 25-year-old England striker's second goal of the season set the Hammers on their way to a win which lifted them 11 points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone and at the same time, plunged the Black Cats into ever deeper trouble.
Carroll's towering ninth-minute header gave the visitors a lead they never surrendered, although it was Mohamed Diame's 50th-minute strike which ultimately proved decisive as substitute Adam Johnson struck to prompt a late, if ultimately unsuccessful, fightback.
Allardyce said: "It's a bit scary to think where we might be if we'd had Andy all season. We didn't have him all season last season and finished 10th; we have had him even less this season.
"We are now 11th, we are one point behind our last year total, so we have 37 points and this time last year, we had 38, we have had our best run of results since we have been back in the Premier League.
"Since Andy and the other players got fit - and I always said coming on the back of January, 'Once our players are all fit, watch out, we will be okay, we will win football matches'.
"The form we are showing at the moment is proving that. It's been an outstanding run from the players and an outstanding achievement."
By contrast, Sunderland, who had strong appeals for a first-half penalty waved away, find themselves four points adrift of safety with eight games to play, the next of them at Tottenham next Monday night, a day of the week on which they have not won a game in 12 years.
But head coach Gus Poyet, who admitted he may have made a mistake in starting with Johnson on the bench, is refusing to give up on the mission he accepted back in October when he inherited a team with just a single point to its name.
He said: "What I believe is I need to convince the players to keep doing it and defend this club to the end, to the last minute, try their best.
"If everybody does the same, who goes down? The three worst teams in the league, because you try your best and you can be the worst.
"But you need to try your best, give it your best shot and play the best way you can play. It hurts, yes, it's sad, yes."
He added with a wry smile: "I didn't even know until this morning that we hadn't won a game on Monday for I don't know how many years.
"Thank you to the TV for putting another game on Monday next week, it very nice. Why don't they change the last seven and put them on Monday as well?"
Read More: Sunderland 1 West Ham 2 match report
Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy
Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'
Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'
Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised
Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'
Latest in Sport
Manchester United official team photo: Antonio Valencia and Anderson pull the funniest faces
F1 Singapore Grand Prix: FIA clarifies radio message allowances as Mercedes' 'it's hammer time' saying survives ban
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt, including Danny Welbeck must be more clinical and Hector Bellerin debut
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 player ratings
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'