Marcelo Bielsa's Whites moved nine points clear of third-bottom Norwich City through last month's impressive 3-2 victory at West Ham United which followed a 3-1 triumph at home to relegation battling Burnley in United's first fixture of 2022.
Leeds, though, then slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home to former basement side Newcastle United who hauled themselves out of the drop zone and further closed the gap on the Whites by taking another three points through Tuesday evening's 3-1 win at home to Everton.
Bielsa's 15th-placed side are still six points clear of the bottom three - and with a game in hand - but James has fired a strong warning about his team's league position ahead of tonight's clash at 11th-placed Aston Villa.
In their bid to climb the table, James also admits that eradicating the recent habit of squandering good chances will be key.
James told the media as quoted by leedsunited.com: "There have been games where we’ve played well and won, and there has been games where we’ve played really well and not taken our opportunities and it has come back to haunt us.
“There has also been games where we’ve performed poorly by our standards.
"But there is no doubt in this team, we all know what we can do, we all believe in ourselves.
“We were disappointed to have not won against Newcastle, we deserved to win it but we didn’t take our opportunities so it came back to haunt us towards the end.
“I think that would have been a great stepping stone for us to move far away from the drop zone.
"We’re out of it at the minute but we haven’t moved on from it.
“People will have spoken saying we’ve come out of it now, but other people consider us to still be involved in it.
“So, for us now going forward, we need keep doing what we’ve been doing, but do it better, to keep pushing up the table as far as we can.
"For our standards we don’t want to be anywhere near the drop zone.
“The way we play, we create a lot of chances, we play well but we need to be more consistent.”
Assessing the challenge awaiting Leeds against Villa under new boss Steven Gerrard, James said: “I think they’ve been great since he’s come in.
“He’s really implemented the way he wants them to play and brought in some great players, as well. It’s going to be a tough game.
“I watched their game against Manchester United and they played really well.
"The games before that and the games after that, they’ve also played well.
“It’ll be a tough game whatever team they put out, but it’s one that we’re really looking forward to."