MELBOURNE coach Dean Bailey admitted his side had taken a ''step back'' in the aftermath of its 64-point drubbing by the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night, a loss that leaves the Demons sitting precariously in eighth place on the ladder.

Bailey said poor decisions and lack of skill execution in the face of fierce pressure from the Bulldogs had cost the Demons throughout the night, and believed the Demons’ own pressure had not lived up to their own recent efforts.

''It is a step back tonight,'' he said.

''It's a Friday night game, in front of the big audience. We had our opportunities and we didn't take them. The Dogs had their opportunities and they took them, and you could see the confidence growing in their team.''

Before the match, both sides marked the passing of Demon legend Sean Wight with a minute's silence. The Glasgow-born star was part of the ‘Irish experiment’ in the 1980s, which also brought Jim Stynes to the club. Wight lost his battle with lung cancer on Thursday.

Friday night’s loss, which came after solid wins against Richmond and Fremantle, continues Melbourne's rollercoaster form in 2011. With good performances routinely followed with equally poor losses, Bailey said addressing the up and down form of his team was fast-becoming the biggest challenge of the season.

''Where we have found ourselves is not where we want to be and it is certainly an area where we must get better at, and better at quickly. We are not talking about a competitive opportunity (tonight); we are talking about a 10-goal loss. The six goals (conceded) in the last quarter was a very disappointing finish,'' he said.

Bailey said the Bulldogs’ opening two goals of the third quarter, scored within a few minutes of the main break, had hurt the Demons dearly.   

''That was disappointing. Straight after that we had the majority of the third quarter where we probably had the game more on our terms, but we couldn't quite get enough scoreboard pressure,'' he said.

"The last quarter was very disappointing from a scoreboard point of view. Our ball use and our over-use of handball was a feature of tonight.''

Friday night's loss was the 11th straight defeat for the Demons at Etihad Stadium, but Bailey refused to believe the ground was a factor.

"Today was more about execution and skill. In most games, that is really going to be the element. We really coughed the ball up too many times. Until we can fix that, it doesn't matter if we play here, or at the 'G, or wherever.''

Melbourne has a bye next week before facing Port Adelaide in a home game in Darwin.