Eric Tinkler says Maritzburg United had no response to Kaizer Chiefs' threat on set-pieces in the second half.
Maritzburg were dumped out of the MTN8 at the first hurdle after letting a first-half lead slip to lose 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Tinkler felt the game should have been wrapped in the opening 45 minutes after their failure to respond in the second stanza.
"First half. We should have killed of the game to be brutally honest," Tinkler told SuperSport after the game.
"We dominated completely. We should have been 2-3 nil up at half-time. We should have ended the game in the first half. And because we didn't, we got punished for it in the second. It was chalk and cheese - the performance of the first half versus the performance of the second half.
"What is the reason behind the drop in performance and the fact that we just looked completely lost in the second half? It simply doesn't make any sense. And the only thing I can put my finger on is, have we got the heart? Have we got the winning mentality?
"And number two, maybe it's the fitness levels. Maybe the fitness levels in the second half weren't where they need to be and we didn't match them in terms of the intensity and that's probably one of the reasons why we find ourselves playing on the backfoot. Yes Castro came in, he made a big difference for them. They were playing the ball in to his feet. We allowed the ball to go in to his feet.
"But we didn't respond to it. We didn't press them as well as we did in the first half. Second half, non-existent. We allowed them back in. Two set-pieces. We spoke about it the whole week.
"Every interview I do, I say the only place they can hurt you is from the set-piece and you go and concede two goals from the set-piece. So it's about taking responsibility. Everybody must take responsibility. Because we threw away a great opportunity here to get in to a semi-final.
"It's very easy to point fingers at everyone. Even I must take responsibility. And we'll go back and work on it during the week. And you hope that people learn from these mistakes. But these mistakes are very costly.
"And you practise it the whole week and it's very easy to point fingers. But we have to take responsibility."