West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has come to the defence of striker Andy Carroll, claiming that he should not be judged on the number of goals he scores.
It is an odd statement to make while defending a player whose primary job is to score goals but Bilic insisted that the former Liverpool forward brings in other qualities to the team that are invaluable.
“There is always pressure on centre forwards,” said Bilic.
“They are not happy if they don’t score, as I said two years ago and last year, centre forwards who are basically, depending on their goals, to prove they are worth it for the team.
“Andy is not like that, he opens spaces, he is sometimes tow or three around him that have to stop him which opens gaps and spaces.
“His flicks or playoffs with his head too, are key. For him to make an impact and to be very important, he doesn’t always have to score goals.”
Carroll scored seven goals last season but is yet to open his account for West Ham since his return. But Bilic has tipped him to play a very important role in the games to come.
“He has been good, he always has an impact on the game if its from the start or the bench and that’s what he has been doing,” he said.
“Of course, we are expecting him to be more fitter and with that, more minutes and then more match fitness and to get better.
“He is looking better in training now than he did two or three weeks ago which is only natural but yeah, he is good.”
West Ham return to Premier League action this weekend against Burnley at Turf Moor.