A Psycho-logical Step

David James welcomes the increasing use of a psychological approach to games - and has applauded Glenn Roeder for leading the way.

The Hammers use David Houlston on an ad hoc basis, and Glenn feels it is an area that football lags behind in, pointing to the fact that the use of psychologists is the norm in American sports.

David has used Keith Long on a personal basis for some time, and says: "It has definitely helped me and there is more than plenty of room for it in football considering the lack of a psychological approach in the game.

"My approach to matches is the same, whoever it is, whatever it is, wherever it is.

"One of my frustrations with players has always been turning it on against the big sides or against their old teams only.

"Every team is a big side and every team could be seen as a former side if that is going to help the approach."

David thinks that Glenn has taken a brave step in breaking the mould to use a psychologist occasionally - though the Hammers boss has stressed it is only from time to time and is not an imposition on any particular players.

"I wouldn't be using one myself if I didn't think it was of any benefit and I think Glenn is on to a winner there," says David.

"Your classic example would be Tiger Woods, who turns up and tells everybody that he has got a psychologist and we accept it.

"In football, if you mention it, there are people who are sceptical towards it and want to adopt the old school mentality - but that is up to them.

"We saw him after the 5-1 defeat at Chelsea and the following game was the 1-1 draw. It was effectively two different teams playing.

"Whether or not that was coincidence or not is debatable, especially by the sceptics, but I saw a stark improvement in the approaches."

But he still believes that the approach has to be allied to good old fashioned talent, and says of the poor away form: "Something has to be done about it and I don't think it is psychological - I think it is something we have to look at on the training field, and it will be sorted out.

"You look at the Bolton game and they have had three shots if you include the Ricketts one on one.

"At the end of the day that means we have dominated the game, and the frustration is that one of theirs has gone in and one of ours hasn't.

"You can't say the performance was bad because it wasn't. If you look at the Chelsea game in the FA Cup it was down to individual errors.

"They happen and you can't chastise someone for that, but if it is just a general bad performance you have got to start pointing fingers.

"Southampton wasn't a bad performance overall but at the same time, we can't accept that we are playing well and not winning."