Sam Allardyce is always "a move ahead", according to West Ham striker Andy Carroll, ahead of their Boxing Day clash with Chelsea.
Allardyce is set to go head-to-head with master tactician Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, with West Ham 11 points behind the Premier League leaders.
Carroll, who earlier in December said West Ham were capable of winning the league, hailed Allardyce's leadership of the Upton Park club ahead of their London derby with Mourinho's men.
"He knows how to beat managers, their tactics," Carroll said.
"He knows what they are going to do against us. It's just a game of chess, really, looking a move ahead.
"It is different tactics, different teams. He's not the same every week. Different things. Obviously he wants a win, but you've got to watch the teams, how they're playing, how we're going to break them down and win the game.
"He's got loads of different ways of attacking, we've got loads of dimensions to go forward. We can do anything. That's what our qualities are at the minute."
West Ham have won nine in 17 this term to occupy the final UEFA Champions League spot, and the former Newcastle United and Liverpool striker said their surprise form comes down to Allardyce's shrewd transfer work.
Allardyce brought Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal), Mauro Zarate (Velez Sarsfield), Aaron Cresswell (Ipswich Town), Enner Valencia (Pachuca), Diafra Sakho (Metz) and Alex Song (on loan from Barcelona) to the club in the off-season.
"All this great football [is] coming from the manager," Carroll insisted.
"He's brought in some great players. He's changed the team around a lot, and the players he's brought in have settled in nicely, and all the lads are buzzing about at the minute, and it comes from that really: the manager's choice of players and how he wants to play now."
Following West Ham's trip to Chelsea, they host Arsenal just two days later on Sunday - but Carroll is not shirking away from the challenge of tackling two of the Premier League's top sides in a short space of time.
"They're tough games coming up, but we have a good team as well, and I'm sure they're going to be just as worried about us as we are about them," Carroll said.
"We're playing great football, and I think any team that we play against is going to be worried about us. We've got more than one attacking option. Play it on the floor, play it in the air, down the sides.
"Obviously we're in the position that we are in the league, and that's well deserved."comments