on the back foot

on the back foot

In a position of disadvantage, retreat, or defeat. A large portion of our funding was cut at the last minute, so we were starting this project on the back foot from the get-go. The once-dominant airline company has been on the back foot ever since several no-frills competitors entered the market.
See also: back, foot, on
References in periodicals archive ?
Power company Drax was 5p lower at 782p and Enterprise Inns 5p lower at 651p, although firms in the financial sector were also on the back foot.