Slaven Bilic hailed “magnificent” Andy Carroll (our early winner of the weekend) after seeing his striker blast West Ham to a fifth Premier League victory in seven attempts at Middlesbrough.
The former Newcastle and Liverpool forward followed up last weekend’s stunning volley against Crystal Palace with a bullet header and a close-range finish as the Hammers ran out 3-1 winners at the Riverside Stadium.
Delighted boss Bilic said: “He’s as good as gold. I keep saying the same words about him week in, week out. I’m a big fan of him, but for a reason – he gives you everything.
“He’s a magnificent player and I keep saying that from day one from last season. The only problem with him was that he wasn’t all the time available. Apart from that, from the bench, impact brilliant, from the start, brilliant.
“He gives you everything, and when I say ‘everything’, it’s not that he gives you all that he can, it’s the quality about it.”
Carroll’s thunderous ninth-minute header set the ball rolling, and after Cristhian Stuani had levelled, he struck from close-range with substitute Jonathan Calleri adding a third in stoppage time.
Bilic, who withdrew the striker early as a precaution after he complained of a minor groin injury, said: “If he gets service in the box, he will score goals always.
“I’m a long time in football and I played at centre-back and it’s only Duncan Ferguson who was on this level when the cross comes into the box.
“It doesn’t have to be a brilliant cross, you just have to put the ball in and he is great. The way he scored the first goal, it was like a hammer.
“But it didn’t surprise me. To be fair, I expected him to do things like that.”
Carroll’s return to form could hardly have been better-timed with Dimitri Payet in exile as he attempts to push through a move away from West Ham, and Bilic admits he cannot wait for the transfer window to close.
He said: “There’s nothing new. The only good thing is today is the 21st, so it’s going to finish in 10 days.
“I am not going to say anything new. There are two outcomes that are possible: for him to stay, and the second one is for him to leave us.
“But is it Marseille or any other club? He’s a great player, he has his value and if he goes, we are not asking for anything crazy or whatever. We are asking for even less money than his value.”