I don't think Andy Carroll is our fundamental problem. I think although he isn't the most aesthetically pleasing player to watch at the moment, we seem to, at least recently, appear to be getting results when he starts games. Why we haven't addressed that issue and at least started to play him on a regular basis in the league now that we have nothing to play for in that competition beggars belief. At the very least, the club can ascertain a better sense of if he is working out on a more regular basis and give him an opportunity to show his worth to a prospective buyer. Certainly Suarez seems to be scoring more when he's on the pitch. Additionally, it can't help Carroll, if he's being dropped after putting in a decent performance or scoring. The same with Coates. These players need confidence and a regular run of 90 minutes. In Carroll's case, he's freeing space for Suarez at the moment and the goals will come if he gets a run of consecutive games.
For me, our fundamental problem is that we don't learn from our mistakes, particularly in terms of how we approach games. For example, every year we put all our efforts into defeating our rivals, but drop massive amounts of points against relegation fodder and newly promoted sides. Those are the games that kill you when it comes to competing for the title or for the CL spots. Look at Arsenal, they've only picked six points out of a possible 18 in the games they've played so far against clubs in the Top 5 spots, but they are now in 3rd, after a dreadful start.
This season we have the sixth worst record against clubs currently in the bottom half of the table. Look at some of the performances we've had this season against relegation candidates and newly promoted sides. This season we've lost against Bolton, Wigan, QPR, Fulham and drew Norwich, Wigan and Swansea in games in which we've dominated. That's a possible 21 points right there that we've only got three out of. Had we beaten those four teams we had lost against, we'd be one point behind fourth: one! And this isn't just a recent problem. We only got 13 points out of a possible 30 against clubs who were either promoted or relegated last season. Addressing our inability to beat these types of teams, whether it be a issue of tactics or mentality (for me personally I think it's more so the latter) should be our first priority. Because, if you can't beat these types of teams, you can't get into the CL spots.