Torquay boss Martin Ling admits Billy Bodin is in the middle of a lull as the 20-year-old struggles for form and fitness.
The summer signing from Swindon has not scored since October and has looked a shadow of the player who shone during his loan spell at Plainmoor last season.
And the Gulls chief believes hard work is the only answer if the Welshman is to get back to his best.
"He's not a different person or a different footballer, but there is a different performance going on at the moment," Ling told the club's official website.
"It's a learning curve for Billy and the crowd being a bit negative toward him probably doesn't help, but he's got to live with that.
"The same crowd last year saw a player that took our breath away at times and a player we then went and bought as a big acquisition for this football club, so it's a different type of pressure for Billy now.
"Last year, he came in as a 19 year-old chance-player without too much pressure. Now, everyone thinks we should be seeing the finished article every week but that doesn't happen with young players.
"He is going through a bit of a lull and, like all of us, the only way he can fight his way out of that is through hard work and continuing to do what brought him success last year."