Carroll hails 'fantastic' win for Irons in Payet's absence
Andy Carroll felt West Ham gave the perfect response to Dimitri Payet's walkout by thumping Crystal Palace without him.
Midfield star Payet refused to play against the Eagles on Saturday after telling manager Slaven Bilic he wants to leave the club.
But the Hammers showed there is life after the France international with a 3-0 win and easily their best performance of the season.
Carroll scored what he admitted was the best goal of his career, a stunning bicycle kick, in between strikes from Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini.
The striker said: "I think we have answered a few of the critics, 100 per cent.
"With everything that has been going on during the week and everyone talking it's been tough, especially as the lads are close to one another.
"To put all that behind us and work as a team has been fantastic. The fans were like the 12th man and were great with their support. It was a great day all round.
"All the lads were fantastic and professional. They know what it means to the fans and the club.
"We stuck together and everyone is hungry and dedicated - and it showed in the performance."
It was an unhappy return to West Ham for their former manager Sam Allardyce, who is still without a win since taking over at Palace last month.
The Eagles are now only above the relegation zone on goal difference and Allardyce admits bringing in January reinforcements is proving tricky.
"It's a tough old window this year," he said. "Players are going to look at us and say 'do I want to go to Crystal Place in a relegation battle?'
"And we have to handle the prices which is the biggest difficulty of all, the inflated prices."