Noel Whelan has cast doubts over the mental strength of Aston Villa winger Jota after seeing him struggle in the first half of the season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds United striker says that the 28-year-old is clearly a talented player but that the club’s poor form has taken its toll on him.

Jota reunited with manager Dean Smith over the summer, the duo having been at Brentford together, but has managed to feature just eight times in the Premier League this season.

Whelan says that the club’s poor form, which has left them fighting a relegation battle, may have sowed seeds of doubt in Jota’s mind, as well as other first-team players at Aston Villa.

“We know there’s a lot more in the kid, sometimes when things aren’t going your way, they aren’t going your way,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“You need it elsewhere and sometimes when there’s that hint of, or that little bit of doubt that creeps in, it creeps throughout the whole side.

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“I think they’re finding this Premier League season very difficult to come to terms with and it’s not as easy as they thought it would be after spending all that money.” 

Jota has played 11 times across all competitions since moving to the Villans, his only goal for the club coming in their League Cup victory over Brighton.

In other Aston Villa news, Whelan has urged the Villans to launch a January transfer raid after tearing into a senior player.