Richie Barker believes Jed Wallace is trying ‘too hard’ to produce his Pompey best at present.
The 19-year-old was substituted in the 68th minute against Mansfield on Saturday, following a disappointing display.
There was then embarrassment when the midfielder was later named as the sponsors’ man of the match – a baffling decision greeted by boos by some.
Wallace was also below par against Oxford the previous week, to add to the recent frustration in his performances.
Regardless, the teenager has been a shining talent since his first-team emergence at the start of last year under former manager Guy Whittingham.
And Barker believes Wallace must relax on the pitch more if he is going to be at his most effective for the Blues.
‘Sometimes it is one of them where Jed tries too hard,’ said Barker.
‘It’s not through lack of effort, he’s trying to do the right things and is probably trying too hard.
‘He didn’t have a great game against Mansfield, that is probably his worst since I came in.
‘But I think he has been excellent during my time here, so one in seven is not too bad.
‘Obviously, there is a lot of speculation about him but a lot of people forget he is 19. It’s a hell of a lot of pressure on a 19-year-old’s shoulders.
‘What I have to do is get him to relax a little bit and work on things in training with him because it is a real big thing for somebody at 19 years of age.
‘I’ll be telling him to go out and express himself and not worry about making mistakes.
‘Unfortunately, he is one of those that when he does make a mistake, he thinks the world is going to end.
‘You can’t fault his effort, though, it is not through a lack of effort.
‘There are just massive expectations on a 19-year-old.’
Wallace’s contract situation is also a big talking point among supporters, with patience beginning to ebb.
Pompey have made several offers to extend his deal beyond its expiry this summer – without success.
The likes of Leicester, Wolves and Peterborough have all been linked with the youngster during the current transfer window.
This month is the final opportunity for the Blues to get a transfer fee, otherwise a tribunal would have to set a figure should he leave at the season’s end.
Barker believes the speculation may have affected one of Pompey’s lowest-paid players.
He added: ‘I haven’t really heard a great deal of transfer talk about Jed.
‘I get asked a lot of questions about transfer talk but I don’t really hear a lot of transfer talk.
‘Considering some of the clubs that people keep talking about that are getting linked with a 19-year-old, it’s bound to have some kind of effect on him.’