West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was full of praise for Andy Carroll after the striker led the Londoners to a crucial 2-1 win at Sunderland.
Allardyce declared it was 'a bit scary' to imagine how good West Ham might have been this season if Carroll had been fit for the entire campaign.
The 25-year-old forward missed the opening 20 games of West Ham's Premier League season but showed how crucial he is to Allardyce's team at the Stadium of Light, scoring one goal and creating another, as the London club registered their sixth win in nine matches.
"It's a bit scary to think where we might be if we'd had Andy all season," Allardyce said in his post-match press conference.
"We didn't have him all season last season and finished 10th. We've had him even less this season and we're now into 11th. We're one point behind last season's total (at this point)."
Allardyce said Carroll has all the tools to dominate the Premier League if he can stay fit for an entire season.
"It's an all-round quality that he has; quicker than he looks, some good hold up play off the chest at times, takes the ball with his feet, got a terrific shot on him … superb in the air and he's young," the 59-year-old said.
"So, hopefully, he keeps on … growing in terms of his experience and his abilities to stay fit and be an even better player than he already is."
Carroll scored West Ham's opener against Sunderland with a trademark header at the back post in the ninth minute and then chested down a long pass five minutes after half-time for Mohamed Diame to score the visitors' second goal.
While Adam Johnson pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 65th minute, Allardyce was generally pleased with his team's entire performance.
"Andy, using his major strength to put us 1-0 up. Beautiful header and I think that gave everybody the confidence to try and go on, and play, and expose more of the spaces that Sunderland were going to leave," Allardyce said.
"Because they were going to have to come out even more to try and get back in the game … and we finally took advantage of that just after half-time.
"Then really, we controlled the game even more from there on, didn't get the third when Stewart Downing went through and then had a little bit of a mad 20 minutes to hold on when (Adam) Johnson scored a very good goal.
"The lads, defensively, did that very, very well indeed and it's an outstanding victory for us."
Allardyce added that West Ham have just about avoided relegation with their strong run since the start of February.
"We're probably in the top four or five in the Premier League for results at the moment and it's got us out of trouble and it's got us almost safe; not quite mathematically but I think it'll be difficult for anyone to catch us now," he said.
|Coach: G. Poyet|
for L. Cattermole 53'
for J. O'Shea 60'
for Sung-Yeung Ki 79'
|Ibrahimovic is tremendous even if he does not score - Mourinho|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Olimpia, Honduras Progreso claim key wins|
|Astra expected hungover Roma - Spalletti|
|United fixture list a ´poisoned gift´ - Mourinho|
|Ronaldo back for ´stronger´ Portugal|
|Dembele can be next Drogba - Rodgers|
|Mourinho wanted Pogba at Chelsea, says Raiola|
|Puel pleased with ´good point´ in Israel|
|Mourinho not ´over the moon´ with United wins|
|Southampton investigating Eric Black allegations|
|Rodgers: Celtic would challenge at the top in England|
|Ibrahimovic expects more from United|
|Manchester United 1 Zorya 0: Ibrahimovic header earns Mourinho´s men narrow win|
|De Boer blasts Inter for lack of focus|
|Zarate reveals message to ill wife after goalscoring return|
|Raffael suffers fresh injury setback|
|Hapoel Be´er Sheva 0 Southampton 0: Saints´ winning run comes to an end|
|Sparta Prague 3 Inter 1: De Boer´s side humbled in Europa League again|
|Police to review corruption allegations after Telegraph sting|
|Brady hails Wenger as ´possibly the best ever´ Gunners boss|
|Yacob signs new West Brom deal|
|Guidolin prioritising Swansea improvement over his future|
|Sakho outburst has been dealt with – Klopp|
|Bilic sorry for Allardyce in ´very sad´ week for English football|
|Laporte saga nears conclusion as defender earns France call-up|
|Everton are exceeding expectations – Koeman|
|Wenger could be tempted by an international offer, says ex-assistant|
|No excuses for Liverpool this time, says Klopp|
|Rashford left out of England Under-21 squad|
|Boro must pick up where they left off - Karanka|
|Matuidi could still join Juventus, says Raiola|
|Pardew anticipates battle of the Belgians|
|Legia Warsaw to face Real Madrid behind closed doors|
|England job would be the pinnacle - Pardew|
|Wright sacked by Barnsley|
|Bilic defends West Ham team night out|
|Ramsey withdrawal was Arsenal´s call - Coleman|
|LMA demand ´immediate full disclosure´ of corruption evidence|
|´My answer would be a big fat no´ - Coleman rules out taking England job|
|Leeds dismiss Cellino sting as ´non-story´|
|Gabigol, Rashford and Sanches among Golden Boy nominees|
|Keane slams Arsenal: Half their players will have gloves on soon|
|´Special´ Man City draw a career highlight, says Gordon|
|Southgate admits England situation is ´not ideal´|
|England should have gone for O´Neill, says Shilton|
|PSG´s powers of recovery impress Cavani|
|Howe ´absolutely committed´ to Bournemouth amid England links|
|Man City proved character against Celtic, says Zabaleta|
|Walcott: Sanchez partnership bodes well for Arsenal´s season|
|MLS Review: DC, Impact on track for play-offs|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Tigres, Dallas left waiting|
|Central Sanchez pleases Wenger|
|Barca felt Messi absence - Busquets|
|Martino knew Messi would come out of retirement|
|Shilton never convinced by Allardyce|
|Degenek replaced by Giannou for Socceroos|
|Griezmann will still take penalties - Simeone|
|Simeone proud of ´one of the best´ wins|
|Godin suffers sprained ankle ligament|
|West Ham receive positive news over injured duo|
|Robson: Four wins for Southgate and he´s an England contender|
|Gunes rues Besiktas´ inability to see off Dynamo|
|Sarri: Late goals leave bitter taste|
|Borussia Monchengladbach were exceptional against Barcelona, feels Schubert|
|PSG must be patient, says Emery|
|Celtic are lucky to have Dembele - Rodgers|
|I´m completely focused on Arsenal, insists Wenger amid England talk|
|Hasselbaink denies wrongdoing amid impropriety allegations|
|Ancelotti frustrated by slow, toothless Bayern|
|Barcelona deserved their win - Luis Enrique|
|I want Celtic atmosphere at City – Guardiola|
|Rebrov defends Yarmolenko after ´difficult´ match|
|Rostov draw is two points dropped for PSV, says De Jong|
|Torres eyeing ´magical´ year for Atletico|
|Celtic 3 Manchester City 3: Dembele at the double in six-goal thriller|
|Celtic 3 Manchester City 3: Dembele at the double in six-goal thriller|
|Rostov 2 PSV 2: Propper´s penalty miss costs visitors|
|Besiktas 1 Dynamo Kiev 1: Tsygankov stuns wasteful Turks|
|Napoli 4 Benfica 2: Mertens bags two as Napoli run riot|
|Arsenal 2 Basel 0: Walcott´s capital gains tax Swiss visitors|
|Borussia Monchengladbach 1 Barcelona 2: Pique grabs the winner|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Bayern Munich 0: Carrasco gives Ancelotti first taste of defeat|
|Ludogorets 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Cavani inspires comeback win|
|Premier League, FA and EFL to investigate transfer allegations|
|Vardy reveals matchday energy drink and port routine|
|Everton coping without Stones, says Jagielka|
|Sacked Jemez admits to ´great sadness´ at Granada exit after worst start in over 70 years|
|Wenger has so much to offer English football - Schmeichel|
|No truth to England rumours, says Klinsmann|
|Spalletti demands end to damaging Roma ´games´|
|De Boer: Brozovic was punished and forgiven|
|Allardyce paid price for lack of privacy - McClaren|
|Milik can match Lewandowski - Reina|
|LMA ´extremely concerned´ about manager bribe allegations|
|Iwobi: I nearly left Arsenal|
|Mata has found a ´natural habitat´ at United|
|Higuain slowly approaching top form|
|´Stupid´ Allardyce driven by money - Dyke|
|Wijnaldum vows to improve|
|Renato Sanches needs time at Bayern - Hitzfeld|
|Ibrahimovic nurturing United talent - Lingard|
|Mourinho feels sorry for Allardyce|
|United boss primed for ´must-win´ Europa League tie|
|Mourinho keen to protect under-fire Rooney|
|Jeonbuk Motors 4 Seoul 1: Leonardo brace puts hosts in the driving seat|
|Maloney returns to Scotland squad|
|Van Persie: Kids will decide my future|
|Entrapment won on this occasion - Allardyce|
|Ibra-Rashford pairing the answer for United - Neville|
|Tevez hints at imminent retirement|
|England in safe hands with Southgate - Glenn|
|Holman talks up A-League quality|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Red Bulls progress, Timbers win|
|Januzaj blow for Sunderland|
|Navas accepts blame for Dortmund equaliser|
|Sporting assistant Raul Jose pleased with win|
|Nuno left to regret slow start as Porto fail on English soil again|
|Vardy rejected Arsenal due to style|
|Simeone: I am not Griezmann´s mentor|
|Schmidt bemoans ´brutal´ Monaco equaliser|
|Ranieri doesn´t trust bookies over England job|
|Genesio worried wastefulness will cost Lyon in long run|
|Preud´homme admits Champions League too much for Club Brugge|
|Telegraph passes findings to FA after further corruption claims|
|Zidane: Draw difficult to accept|