Yeovil Town manager Darren Way claimed that fans have got a 'short memory' when assessing the form of defender Tom James. The former Cardiff City defender has had a mixed time of late, having sat out four matches following a sending off against Cheltenham Town that was his second dismissal of the 2018-19 season. Wrapped around those matches that he missed, the 22 year old has struggled to maintain the accuracy of his free kicks that have heavily contributed to the six goals that he's scored this season, with his last goal coming through an open-play header just over two months ago.
James did get some heckling during last Saturday's 0-2 defeat against Macclesfield Town, after a free kick late on in the game was blasted high and wide of the target. With the game already lost, that didn't affect the outcome of the match, but contributed to a 90 minute spectacle that was poor from the point of view of Glovers fans. Way also singled out James for criticism after the game, admitting that after some of the attempts on goal "you start to ask what's going through a player's mind", drawing attention to the player's desire and commitment to the club.
Speaking four days later, Way has changed his focus somewhat, telling BBC Somerset that he still regards James as a 'top class' player, and told BBC Somerset that he was confident that he had not 'lost the dressing room' in some of the body language and play that has been shown over the Macclesfield and Port Vale fixtures:
"Tom James is a top class player. Tom James is going to have a bright future. To see him, and the frustrations that were aimed towards him, we haven't had someone at the football club that's scored free kicks like he's scored. That's where people have got a short memory. I have to make sure that I bring him back. That's what I think I've done now for a number of years. Tom James is only 22 years of age. So when you look at a player that you know you've got a good relationship with, and you know you've got a good bond, you know they're honest because I've worked with them for a long time. For it to look like for the supporters, that the manager has lost the dressing room, I know that's not true. So I have to make sure that I understand, and pick them up, and get them enjoying it."
Way has maintained his position that he believes the pressure of those two 'six pointer' games had got to his players, and believes that against Lincoln City he saw a better performance as the players were not expected to win the game. Once again, he turned his attention to 'social media', claiming that the players had been affected by what they read on those platforms ahead of those games:
"I feel with the two games - Port Vale, it was a must-win game, or supposedly what they would have been reading on social media. Exactly the same for Macclesfield. I think those two games where we weren't the underdogs, I feel as a group we just couldn't handle that. Lincoln was a little bit different, even Cambridge to a certain extent. We were the underdogs, and they were above us. That's what I took from those two games and it's probably the hardest that I've had to work as a manager over a period of two or three days, to make sure that I manage the group, because of the high emotions and the noise that's going around at the moment."
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