Hughton hails Carroll

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Chris Hughton hailed striker Andy Carroll after he ended a troubled week on a high by firing Newcastle to a 2-1 victory at relegation rivals West Ham at Upton Park.

Carroll began the week by answering charges of assault against his ex-girlfriend before having his car torched shortly after being bailed to live with Kevin Nolan. But the 21-year-old ignored his off-the field worries to set up Newcastle's equaliser before scoring the winner to catapult the Magpies up to ninth in the Barclays Premier League table.

Hughton saluted the character of his top scorer as he defied his critics to pick up his sixth goal of the season and he said: "I thought Andy was excellent. He is a tough individual and he knows that the best place for him is out on the pitch and in training every day with a spirited group of players that are very fond of him."

"It's a big win for us," said Hughton, who has also seen his side win at Chelsea and Everton this season. I'm delighted for this group of lads because it has been a tough week for us.

"It's probably the best performance of the season," he added. "No disrespect to the Championship, we had some tremendous performances in there but to do it in the Premier League is harder, tougher and it means more - and that for me would be the best of the season."

Grant believed that his side were second best and admitted his task has become harder because of the loss but insists he is the man to turn the club's fortunes around.

Next week's match at the Emirates is followed by a trip to Birmingham, who have only lost once at home this season.

He said: "I think we didn't push so much, didn't pressure them, gave them too much space and we gave a lot of ball away too."

"It's harder for us to get out of the relegation zone now but there are almost 30 games left and we have games in the next two months that we can win.

"If we do well like we did up until now with the five-match unbeaten run we had then I'm sure we can do it."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Kevin Nolan
Premier League
Newcastle United

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