Andy Carroll says West Ham United must continue to put their best foot forward to ensure the Club is playing Premier League football next season.
Carroll scored in the 90th minute with a superb finish from the edge of the penalty area to secure the Irons a valuable point against Stoke City, after Peter Crouch had put the away side ahead.
The striker’s fine strike means the Irons have collected five points in their last three games, moving the team to 14th in the table, seven points clear of the drop zone with five matches left to play for David Moyes’s side.
But Carroll has urged the side not to accept safety as a given, saying he and his teammates have to keep playing well to guarantee top flight football for next campaign.
There are so many teams that can get sucked in. We've just got to work hard, take each game as it comes, and see what happens.
“I think we’re still in it until the end of the season,” Carroll said, when asked if the Club’s Premier League status had been confirmed: “There are so many teams that can get sucked in. We’ve just got to work hard, take each game as it comes, and see what happens.”
Carroll’s finish was his third of the season, and came after Aaron Cresswell played a cross to the forward – the fifth time the defender has assisted the No9 during their time together at West Ham.
“It was a good cross,” Carroll continued: “He’s put it in early enough. I think everyone expected it to go right in the box, but it didn’t and I just hesitated my run, and got on the end of it.
“It was great. I was itching to get on a little bit earlier, and I got on, got a half-chance, and put it away.
“The manager spoke before the game and we knew we had to get a result. We knew we had to get something and we came away with a point. We’re disappointed not to come away with three but, three goals disallowed – two offside and one for handball – it was difficult to take. Coming away with one point is good enough.”
Carroll’s showing was the first for the Hammers since playing against Tottenham at the beginning of January, and the attacker is thrilled to be back in action again.
England manager Gareth Southgate was in attendance at London Stadium for Monday’s match, but Carroll insists his primary focus is currently on playing as much as possible for the Irons.
He added: “The last 11 weeks have been tough, really tough, and frustrating. I’ve been in the gym most of the time and I don’t want to be there. It’s been tough but I’ve got through it and I’m back on the pitch now, and I feel good.
“[An England return] would be nice but at the minute I’m just concentrating on staying fit and getting goals and getting in the squad here. Hopefully something will happen but, if not, it is what it is.”