Craig McAllister has admitted Gosport Borough must be prepared for a relegation dogfight.
Pressure is starting to mount on the Privett Park side after they dropped into the Southern League premier division south drop zone following a 2-0 defeat to Farnborough on Saturday.
McAllister felt his side were well off the pace and deserved to lose.
With 15 games remaining, the player-manager is certain Gosport have enough time to get themselves out of their predicament – but need to quickly improve.
‘We are looking over our shoulders and have to be stronger mentally,' said McAllister.
‘There is no doubt we are in a relegation dogfight and the players have to be prepared for that.
‘We were a million miles away from it against Farnborough and that is hugely disappointing.
‘Now is the time we have to be men and dig deep to get out of this situation.
‘The big positive is we have 15 games left and the league remains very tight.
‘We need to start turning up for games, though, otherwise they will quickly run out.
‘I felt we let ourselves down and it is difficult to put a finger on it.’
There was little to choose between the two teams in the opening half hour.
However, the visitors broke the deadlock when midfielder Tom Leggett returned to Privett Park to haunt his former side with the opening goal.
Borough's fate was sealed 17 minutes from full-time when a composed finish from Kurtis Cumberbatch extended the visitors’ lead.
Things don’t get any easier for Gosport when they host title-chasing Weymouth on Tuesday.
McAllister knows it’s crucial his troops grab at least a point.
The boss added: ‘There wasn't a lot in it for the first 15 minutes.
‘Then we switched off in our area and there was no-one near their lad when he scored.
‘Straight away that puts us under the cosh and chasing the game.
‘In the second half we huffed and puffed without really creating any clear openings.
‘Their second goal killed us off.
‘We lost the ball and they were able to pass the ball through us.
‘Our home form hasn't been too half bad so this result is a huge disappointment.
‘We have another tough game at home against title-chasing Weymouth on Tuesday.
‘It is crucial that we try to get something from it.’