West Ham 3 Swansea 1: It was Andy Carroll's best display in a Hammers shirt, says Sam Allardyce

West Ham have now won three games in eight days

Click to follow

Sam Allardyce heralded Andy Carroll’s performance against Swansea City as his best in a West Ham United shirt.

Carroll scored two goals and made another, his first strikes since returning from an ankle ligament injury that kept him out of action from July until November. While Allardyce, the West Ham manager, said Carroll was still recovering match fitness, he agreed that this was the best the centre-forward has played since he signed him from Liverpool over two years ago.

“I would have to say it is very close,” Allardyce said, when asked if it was Carroll’s best display. “When he scored two at the end of it, you have to say yes.” Carroll joined West Ham on loan in 2012 and then for £15m in 2013, but injuries meant that these were only his 10th and 11th Premier League goals for the club. Carroll missed the first half of last season with a heel injury and the first few months of this year as well.

“There’s still a little more to do on his match fitness,” Allardyce said of his big No 9. “He has played all the games this week [against Newcastle United last weekend and West Bromwich Albion in midweek] and his recovery’s good. We brought him off with 25 minutes to go on Tuesday because he looked a bit jaded, but he’s recovered well.”

Allardyce considered withdrawing Carroll late on in the game at Upton Park but decided against it. “Because he’s scored two, he is going to want to run around more and try and get the hat-trick, so we thought of taking him off, but we thought: no, we’ll leave him on, and enjoy what’s been a very good eight days for us.” West Ham won all three games in that period, scoring six goals and conceding only two.

Both of Carroll’s goals were powerful headers and Allardyce said that that particular skill was under-appreciated in the modern game. “The quality of our players with their technical heading ability is good enough to score goals,” Allardyce said. “It’s got lost in the game somewhat today. People don’t seem to talk about how good the  technical ability you need to meet a ball that’s in the air at the right time and guide it into the right place.”

Allardyce, who said that he would soon be in talks with the club over a contract extension, praised the “tremendous character” of his players to come from one goal down to overcome Swansea.

“The changes to the team from Tuesday has paid off,” Allardyce said. “Everyone often says ‘why change it?’ but with fatigue and players coming back from injury who I felt needed to play, it’s paid off handsomely. We’ve gone out and deserved to win today. And not only deserved to win, we’ve won playing some really good attacking football today.”

Garry Monk, the Swansea manager, was disappointed with his side’s performance but said that Lukasz Fabianski should not have been sent off because Diafra Sakho handled the ball to get away from him.

“[Sakho] handballs it to get past Lukasz,” Monk said. “Whether the referee saw the handball or not you would have to ask the referee. Lukasz tried to stop himself but the handball took Sakho past the keeper.”

Monk was not impressed by his side’s passing or the decision-making of his players in a game in which they took the lead in the first half. “We were not at the level we have been,” he said. “We very much competed, it was close but we were not at the level we were and some of the mistakes have cost us. Funnily enough, when we went down to 10 men we played our better football.

“When we play one-touch football we can hurt teams and we showed that with our goal but we did not do that enough. Andy Carroll’s first goal was from a very good cross but we lost him for the second goal, which you cannot do against any team – that is the sort of chance he waits for. The third goal was very poor defending from us.”