Sam Allardyce says that more patience is needed with Yannick Bolasie as the winger tries to regain fitness, sharpness and confidence following more than a year on the sidelines with a serious knee injury.
The £28m signing from Crystal Palace ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament and tore the meniscus in one of his knees in December 2016 and didn't return to action until Boxing Day last year.
Since then, Bolasie has struggled to make a consistent impact in matches and it was put to Allardyce by Sky Sports' Vinny O'Connor today that there were some grumbles towards the 28-year-old from supporters during last weekend's Merseyside derby during which he went off in a second-half substitution.
“I didn't hear [an adverse reaction],” Allardyce retorted, “[but] I see an adverse reaction from every crowd.
“If you do a pass wrong there's a negative reaction, if you do a pass right there's a positive reaction.
“Your cruciate ligament, like many long term injuries… when they come back they're expected to be what they were before the injury. While fit it sometimes takes a little bit longer for some than others.
“It's taken Yannick a little bit longer to get in his stride, on the reverse of that it hasn't taken Seamus Coleman quite as long.
“We have to just be patient and allow him to get back to his best but the more he plays, the better he'll get.”