Chris Hughton defended under-fire Andy Carroll after the 2-1 win at West Ham. Chris Hughton: "I thought Andy was excellent today. "He didn't have to repay anything to us. "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. "I'm delighted for this group of lads because it has been a tough week for us. "I have lost my assistant too. It's a very spirited group of lads we have and a very spirited group of staff so I'm delighted for them. "It's probably the best performance of the season. "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."