Sean Dyche got Dwight McNeil back playing with a chuckle in his boots after a difficult game at Sheffield United last week.
Teenage winger McNeil wasn’t alone in being below par at Bramall Lane, but was back to his best against West Ham, winning the sponsors’ Man of the Match award.
The last time the 19-year-old dropped his levels was against Newcastle back in February, when he produced a similar response, and Dyche said: “Dwight had a real tough one to take last week. We are always looking, when is the time he needs a break?
“But the last time he had a tough performance, he bounced back with a great performance, man of the match, and he’s done it again.
“I’ve got belief in him, his belief is growing. Part of his development will be having a tough one and seeing if you can come out of it.
“And he has done today. That builds resilience and belief. He was excellent. His cross for Woody’s goal, VAR is offside, which I think it was, but what a ball that is. That’s the kind of power the kid has got. 40 yards away but a top cross.”
McNeil started an unbroken run of 31 Premier League starts against the Hammers in December, and, almost a year on, how has he settled into the dressing room among some big characters?
Dyche added: “He is quite quiet and quite humble. His dad was a player and I think that is helpful because he can advise, not only as a dad but the fact that he has been a player as well. He is a humble lad who wants to enjoy his football but is respected though, by us and the other players. It has been a tough week for him and I told him I would kick him somewhere if he didn't smile more!
“He looked like he was smiling today when he was playing! It's an amazing bit of coaching that!
“He was disappointed in last week and it affects you more when you are young. When you are older the resilience is already there, you have experienced the ups and downs. when you are young it really hurts you when you have had a bad day and he looked like that. But I reminded him, simply, to smile more because he is a professional footballer playing in the Premier League and doing a fantastic job.”