Monday 30 January 2017 23:41, UK
Andy Carroll believes the fall-out surrounding Dimitri Payet's acrimonious departure from West Ham has helped galvanize the Premier League club.
Payet returned to Marseille on a four-year contract on Monday after the Hammers accepted a £25m offer for the France international.
The 29-year-old leaves West Ham having scored 15 goals in 60 appearances since joining Slaven Bilic's side from the Ligue 1 club in June 2015.
"I think the team have been fantastic and we have all stuck together," Carroll told West Ham's official website on Monday. "We are all friends and we all know what it means.
"With everything going on it shows we are a team, everyone is united and everyone is sticking together. When we go out on the pitch we all want to fight for one another."
Carroll scored a sensational bicycle kick against Crystal Palace in January which he described in an interview in the Daily Mail as "100 per cent my best goal" and followed it up with two goals against Middlesbrough to help secure back-to-back Premier League wins in the absence of Payet.
The 28-year-old believes West Ham's fans played a major part in the victory over Palace as the Hammers bounced back from three consecutive defeats, including a 5-0 drubbing by Manchester City in the FA Cup.
"We got in the dressing room after the Palace game and the only thing we were talking about was the fans," Carroll added. "We were not speaking about the goals or the result, but how good the fans were.
"It helped us massively. The Palace game lifted everyone and it was a fantastic atmosphere. I think that is what helped us go into the game against Middlesbrough feeling so confident.
"I can see the London Stadium becoming a fortress if we can re-produce that kind of atmosphere every game. It is a great stadium and it is great to have so many fans there. When the fans get behind you there is no better place."
Michail Antonio assisted Carroll with two of his recent goals, including the stunner against Palace, and the former Newcastle and Liverpool forward was full of praise for the 26-year-old.
"Michail is great to play alongside and he is non-stop," Carroll said. "He works hard and he has played in almost every position since he joined the club.
"He has strength, power, finishing and hold-up play has been great and he has probably been our best player.
"It is incredible to see the journey he has gone on and he says he was a lifeguard. I could not believe it and now he is getting a call-up for England. I think it is a dream for him.
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"He has gone through all the stages to play in the Premier League and for his country so credit to him for the determination he has got and he is showing that every week for West Ham which is great.
"We have not played together a lot so when we do link up in training it is good because we talk a lot and we do understand each other. It was difficult at the start because we were going for the same balls and we joked that we were getting in each other's way because we are trying to make the same runs!
"But we are now coming together and it is great to have a partner like him upfront."