Morecambe are in League Two relegation battle - Jim Bentley

Jim Bentley

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley admits Saturday's 5-0 loss to Plymouth has heightened relegation fears at the Globe Arena.

The Shrimps are eight places and seven points above the bottom two, but have now failed to win in 10 games.

"We are getting dragged into it and yes we are in the relegation battle," Bentley told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"If we turn in performances like this, there's no doubt about it, we will struggle until the end of the season."

He added: "You are always a little bit anxious looking over your shoulder."

Bentley said seeing Lewis Alessandra return with Argyle to score against his former club was the realisation of his initial concerns this term.

"I braced myself at the start of the year because we are not one of the biggest clubs," Bentley explained.

"We had to cut the budget, we had to lose some key players - Alessandra being one of them and he has come back to haunt us. We know what type of player he is.

"I did brace myself, but you always have belief in your players that you go on and upset a few teams and have a decent enough season. You are always positive."

His faith was maintained during the early part of the campaign, with Morecambe losing just two of their opening 12 league fixtures and occupying a top-seven spot for much of the first three months of the season.

However, their last victory was in December, a 1-0 win against play-off hopefuls Fleetwood, and have since slumped into the bottom half of the table.

"The league doesn't lie," said Bentley. "We are in poor form at the moment and we need to turn a corner, and turn that corner quickly. The league is that tight.

"Once the first goal went in [against Plymouth] we seemed to collapse and you could see that we are lacking a bit of confidence - we looked nervy and disjointed and were all over the show to be fair.

"It was too easy to play against us, too easy to come off us, get the ball, move it around us, create chances and create openings.

"We didn't do the ugly side like we did at the start of the season when we were nine games unbeaten - we were hard to play against, we were in people's faces. That has dipped a little bit.

"At this level, if it does dip you find yourself getting your pants pulled down and spanked on the bum. That is certainly what happened.

"It's not acceptable, I'm embarrassed. It's certainly a test of my character and a test of the team's character."