Middendorp arrived half-way through the current campaign following the abrupt end to Giovanni Solinas’ tenure at the start of December last year.
At that stage, Chiefs had already lost out on the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout trophies, while on a downward spiral in the Absa Premiership.
But since the German’s arrival, Amakhosi have looked a much better, more disciplined and structured outfit, and have since made a right go at the Nedbank Cup, in which they now await this evening’s quarterfinal draw to learn their next opponents.
They have already adopted the ‘favourites’ tag, given the early exit of main rivals Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, and the players are brimming with confidence of their chances of going the distance and ending their three-and-a-half-year trophy drought.
Cardoso, however, feels it may be a bit unreasonable for fans to carry over the expectation of silverware onto Middendorp, as he still looks to find his feet and implement his philosophy in his first few months at the helm.
“I don’t think it’s fair to Ernst at all, but he’s changed a lot, as you can see in our game – we’re playing with more confidence and we’re actually playing good football,” said Cardoso.
“Someone like Pule Ekstein, for instance, hardly played and now he’s playing like a demon on steroids. He’s just going forward and getting into the best positions that he can be.
“But it’s just about [building] confidence, and it’s unfair on him because six months isn’t enough time. Once we have a pre-season with him, it’ll be a different story.”