The Citizens were picked apart by the visiting Amakhosi at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon, going down 4-1 to hand the Glamour Boys their first league win of the campaign.
McCarthy feels his side were on the back foot from the beginning, saying it seemed as though his players were overawed by the occasion in front of a boisterous crowd.
“We started slow – I’m not sure the reasons for that, as we had prepared well and Chiefs did exactly what we thought they would do, pressing us high and letting us play the long ball,” he told reporters.
“We looked like a team that was star struck, and I think the crowd affected us, as it’s not every day that we play in front of such a massive crowd. The players weren’t themselves, very sluggish, very slow at the start, and we made Chiefs look like world-beaters. Only after they scored, we settled in and played as we should have from the start and hit straight back from a corner, according to our plan.”
The City coach then couldn’t resist taking a shot at the referee, who he felt helped Chiefs get back into the game.
“Then they hit us on the counter-attack, but if you look at their goal, it was a nice assist from the referee‚” he said.
“I tried to see where it was a foul‚ our player winning the ball fair and square and he gives them a free kick and they score from there.
“It is just another in the ongoing dilemma … they all look nice by the way with their OUTsurance kit.
“But that was the best thing about the performance out there‚ the beautiful green and purple kit.”
McCarthy says coming up against a determined Chiefs side and the referee then became an impossible task, but knows his side have to swiftly move on from the loss.
“I don’t want that to overshadow the fact that we came short and lost,” he said.
“But the manner we lost … for a coach it is frustrating when you are up against 11 men who wanted to overturn their bad run and then they got a little bit of help from the man in the middle, which made things more difficult … and then we went a man down, and the task became impossible.
“It was one of those days where it didn’t happen for us, so we take it and move on.”
City are next in action on Wednesday evening away at Orlando Pirates.