Carrol: Payet debacle made us closer

West Ham striker Andy Carrol admits the Dimitri Payet saga galvanised the spirit of the Premier League side and boosted the overall morale to 'kick-start' their season.

Payet sent shockwaves through the Hammers' dressing room when he refused to play for the club against Crystal Palace this month in order to force a move back to his former club Marseille.

Manager Slaven Bilic responded by telling the media of the incident and stood firm, claiming the club's financial position meant they would not be bullied into selling their star player – especially after a slow start to their league campaign.

Nonetheless, the wave of uncertainty surrounding his future resulted in an upturn of form with Bilic's squad, as Carrol starred in the 3-0 win over the Eagles and the 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough, to move into the top-half of the table.

And with the possibility of the 29-year-old infecting the rest of the squad, the Londoners sanctioned the £25 million move for the France international to return to Ligue 1, just 18 months after signing him from Les Phoceens for £10.7 million.

"Five or six weeks ago, I sensed something wasn't right among the lads. The team were struggling, we were split in small groups, there were cliques, results were poor," the England international told the Daily Mail.

"Then we started coming together, before the Dimi thing, but then when that happened it was: 'bang!'

"It has just sparked something in the dressing room," he added. "It kick-started our season."

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