CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy pulled no punches when discussing his team's performance after the 3-3 draw with SuperSport United at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday night.
The result means that the Citizens, a club hoping to challenge for championship honours, have won just one of their opening five league games, a 1-0 victory against rookie side Stellenbosch FC.
Seemingly at the heart of City's issues is a porous defence – the Cape derby victory aside, they've conceded eight goals in four matches.
The Citizens certainly have plenty of firepower up front, an area which they have continually strengthened over the past few seasons. But there remains a big question as to whether they have enough cover in defence.
And it's the lack of competition for places at the back, not helped by injuries, which has contributed to sub-standard defensive displays, McCarthy believes.
"When you play at this level, in the PSL, you get punished for being sloppy and for not being switched on," he said after the SuperSport game.
"When Taariq Fielies comes back from injury, throw him in first time [into the starting XI], not wait for someone to make a mistake.
"I think some of my players are in a comfort zone, it's easy because they know whatever they do, they are going to play next game.
"So I can't wait for my injured players, [Roland] Putsche, Fielies, Kuadja Kouadja, I'll throw them in straight away.”
Abbubaker Mobara was brought in during the off-season, but his central defensive partnership with the inexperienced Keanu Cupido on Saturday night in Mbombela left a lot to be desired. Both players made errors which directly led to goals.
It should be noted also that Putsche is a central midfielder, while Kouadja has just five PSL games to his name, and a lot is now expected of Fielies, who himself only has two top-flight seasons under his belt.
It also begs the question as to why City didn't go in for former player Robyn Johannes, who recently chose to join Stellenbosch FC after ending his stay at Bidvest Wits.
Still, McCarthy feels that those players who have been entrusted to do the job, have let him down.
"Food for thought for these players who have had an unbelievable opportunity to stake their claim, to cement their place in the team," he said.
"So hopefully Fielies will be back, because I'm not going through another match suffering like that. The schoolboy errors we did at the back, wow, disgusting.
"Unfortunately I can't go beat up people in the dressing room, because I wish I could put on some boxing gloves and go through a few of them, because that's what they deserve, maybe they'll wake up after that," he continued.
"I don't think these players realise and understand the opportunity they have. The hundreds of thousands, millions of players, who are dying for an opportunity like this…and then they want to give you mediocre. I can't stand for that.
"I would rather player the diski (reserve) team, young boys who will put heart in it.”
The Cape Town club have a week before their next league fixture – a home game with Golden Arrows on Sunday 22 September.