Cape Town - West
Ham striker Andy Carroll admits the Dimitri Payet saga galvanised the
spirit of the Premier League side and boosted the overall morale to
'kick-start' their season.
Payet sent shockwaves through the Hammers' dressing room when he
refused to play for the club against Crystal Palace this month in order
to force a move back to his former club Marseille.
Manager Slaven Bilic responded by telling the media of the incident
and stood firm, claiming the club's financial position meant they would
not be bullied into selling their star player - especially after a slow
start to their league campaign.
Nonetheless, the wave of uncertainty surrounding his future resulted
in an upturn of form with Bilic's squad, as Carroll starred in the 3-0
win over the Eagles and the 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough, to move into
the top-half of the table.
And with the possibility of the 29-year-old infecting the rest of the
squad, the Londoners sanctioned the £25 million move for the France
international to return to Ligue 1, just 18 months after signing him
from Les Phoceens for £10.7 million.
"Five or six weeks ago, I sensed something wasn't right among the
lads. The team were struggling, we were split in small groups, there
were cliques, results were poor," the England international told the Daily Mail.
"Then we started coming together, before the Dimi thing, but then when that happened it was: 'bang!'
"It has just sparked something in the dressing room," he added. "It kick-started our season."