Frustrated AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley feeling "extreme pressure"

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Manager Jim Bentley admits he feels under “extreme pressure” to turn AFC Fylde's fortunes around during a period as frustrating as he has known in his career.
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Bentley saw his Coasters side suffer a third defeat in four games on Tuesday, when Darlington completed a double over his team.

Expectations and ambitions are high at Mill Farm, one of the few full-time clubs in National League North, but their latest setback left fourth-placed Fylde trailing leaders Gateshead by 16 points.

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Nick Haughton equalises against Darlington but boss Jim Bentley says Fylde are not testing goalkeepers enoughNick Haughton equalises against Darlington but boss Jim Bentley says Fylde are not testing goalkeepers enough
Nick Haughton equalises against Darlington but boss Jim Bentley says Fylde are not testing goalkeepers enough

Bentley stressed that players and staff are all in it together, though he recognises that as manager he must shoulder the responsibility.

He said: “I've been in the game a long time and managing for 10 years but I'm as frustrated as I've ever been.

“We're not showing enough ruthlessness. We're a soft touch and the goals we're conceding are a little weak or they are wonder-strikes, like (Kevin) Dos Santos' shot into top corner (for Darlington's winner).

“And it all reflects on me at the end of the day. I'm here to be pointed at because at the minute we're not good enough, so I'm not good enough. I'm under extreme pressure.

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“It's a cutthroat business. Our results haven't been good enough and the buck stops with me because I'm the manager. I brought all these players to the club or renewed the contracts of the ones already here.

“We're putting our faith in the players because we believe in them but I'm open to all types of criticism and rightly so because if I was a fan I wouldn't be happy with what we are serving up at the minute.”

Besides conceding poor goals, Bentley believes his side are too slow in attack and aren't getting on the front foot.

He added: “We are not testing opposition keepers enough. There's a lot of possession football that's easy on the eye but I'm looking for us to move forward quicker.

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“We are letting teams off the hook with our slow play. We let teams regroup and get good shape, and I sometimes think Chaddy (assistant manager Nick Chadwick) and I could play centre-half against us.

“We are not hurting teams enough. It's all a little bit too nice, too safe and easy.

“We're a full-time club against part-time clubs who are making long trips in midweek to play us and that's the frustration.

“Darlington have made five or six changes but they have come and had a go. Full credit to them, they battled, competed and ran hard. We have to regroup and find a result quickly.”

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The next opportunity to do so is away to a Blyth Spartans side who won at Southport on Tuesday.

Bentley said: “If we feel sorry for ourselves on Saturday, Blyth will be waiting to put the boot in, so you put the gumshield in, roll your sleeves up and have a go. That's the way I've been brought up and I'll be ready for Saturday's game.

“We need a reaction because we've lost too many games of late. They are my players - I'm with them and they are with me.

"We've had a good honest conversation and we have to step up to the plate because questions are being asked.

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“It's good we don't have to wait a full week to play and we should be up and at them, and if we're not we'll be asking questions.

“I'm under pressure and rightly so. I'll come out fighting and the players have to do exactly the same.

"Hopefully we can get a result at Blyth and get back on track because there's a lot of football to be played but we need to step up quickly.”