Slaven Bilic has admitted he is happy to handle injury-plagued striker Andy Carroll with kid gloves to get the best out of the West Ham talisman.
Carroll was fit again for the win over Huddersfield on Monday after another in lay-off and he proved hugely influential in the 2-0 win at the London Stadium. The victory gave Bilic’s men their first points of the season, and helped them climb off the bottom of the table.
And collecting three points eased the pressure on Bilic, whose job is said to be under threat given the poor start to the Hammers campaign which saw them lose the opening three games on the season.
Now the Irons manager is keen for ex-Liverpool and Newcastle hitman Carroll to stay fit and replicate his form from the win over David Wagner’s side. Ahead of the Premier League clash at West Brom tomorrow, Bilic said: “Carroll is one of them who can lift a team. We’ve been saying it for two years, 100 times. He’s the player that everybody knows that he makes teams proud and he’s a player you can’t ignore.
“There are some players, and Andy’s one, that you have to find special treatment for. But that doesn’t mean that he can’t train the whole week. Most likely then he will get injured.
“On the other hand you can’t treat him as you’re treating a 20-year-old, like Declan Rice or Domingos Quina, who could train six hours a day. You need to find a balance. That is exactly what we are doing now. It looks good and we’re hoping that is going to last.”
Meanwhile, Bilic is desperate for his players to retain the confidence gleaned from the win against the Yorkshire outfit when they face Tony Pulis’ men.
He added: “Confidence is crucial. Confidence always comes and goes, but class is permanent. It’s important for a manager and we should have it now. If it was the reason for the disappointing start, then it’s an even bigger motivation for us on Saturday now we have it back.
“Let’s keep it, use it, and build on it. It’s not only games, but you have better trainings, atmosphere around the place and all that.
“It’s like a chain and you have many things that are more positive. We must continue, and I can help do that, yes. By being there, by talking to them on the pitch, by having individual talks and a number of things. That’s the way to keep that feeling.”