Chiefs suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Baroka on Saturday evening to see their already slim chances in the Absa Premiership title race slip further away.
The Glamour Boys remain in seventh position with 36 points from 25 matches played and trail arch rivals and log leaders Orlando Pirates by eight points, with just five games to play.
Having emphasised the importance of showing the same mentality as they did in their impressive 2-0 victory over Cape Town City in the Nedbank Cup a week prior, Middendorp admitted he already suspected an attitude problem amongst the players in training last week.
The German further added that he tried to constantly remind his charges of the danger of going in half-hearted against Bakgaga, but says they will need to continue working at it going forward.
“You’re obviously right, but I don’t support this, definitely not. It’s not acceptable that you push and blow your heart out when you have a cup game and go and deliver something like this [in the league] – that should not be normal routine,” bemoaned Middendorp.
“That should not be something we want to see as a club and a brand, or as someone in charge of the technical team. I think unfortunately I can’t deny it.
“It’s exactly what I’m talking about – the same players, same structure and same setup six days later, and what’s missing? We had enough recovery time, there’s no reason in this moment [to give a performance like that] – we spoke about it the entire week.
“I know this squad, I know these players, that we have a certain complacency, a certain drama dynamic all the time, and yeah, unfortunately it’s a little bit more work to do. But, as I said, it’s not really surprising for me.
“I know that something is missing to have a consistently successful run. I know it; I can see it every day; I was aware about it and I said it during the entire week, I said, ‘If we are not prepared to bring the same attitude individually and as a team, we will not win this game.’
“I made this very clear statement on Thursday already. You don’t make [such a statement] if you are convinced already that everything is fine, and nothing will happen.
“Inside, we made it very clear and we worked on it, we stopped training and said, ‘Guys, this is not what we can do, this is not how we can react and prepare ourselves for a game.’”