Former Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela believes Amakhosi’s struggles are purely related to the mental side of the game.
Ernst Middendorp’s side is on an alarming two losses on the bounce after losing to Maritzburg United 2-1 and on penalties against Highlands Park in the Nedbank Cup last 16 round.
The league drop resulted in Chiefs’ log lead getting reduced to just four points from an initial 11 points in December.
"Towards the end as it is now, the final leg is nothing else but mental," Komphela said to Kick Off.
"You cannot have the same crop of players who have been performing without stress at the beginning when there was no pressure. The same players now start to be jittery, then confidence, it is mentality.
Komphela says pressure is essentially what Amakhosi face while also knowing there are big league games coming against the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns.
"Now you need to work on a mindset and believe to say 'listen, challenges will be there but you've got to do this thing that you used to do' because you have to.
"You look at it from a reality point of view, the gap is different, it's four now, but very interesting and Sundowns is still going to play Chiefs.
The Golden Arrows mentor then explained how different phases of the season pose different questions. "When the competition becomes fierce, then it becomes mental. Beginning of the season it's about the physical part of the game and how coaches prepare the teams through the pre-season.
"Then it becomes tactical as they gel after about six weeks. Then the technical ability of the players, the physical conditioning depends how you set up.
Komphela concluded to add that there is another layer of pressure coming from the support base’s expectations. "It's mentality, and why I'm saying that, for all the championship chasers whoever is strong mentally and more focused will come through.
"But there's pressure there, because there's a level of expectation from supporters and there's not only pressure from within for success but there's external pressure in terms of pride.
Chiefs take on arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in this Saturday’s Soweto derby at 15:30. A win for Middendorp will open a seven point lead while Bucs could go three points behind Chiefs on second place.
"There's a derby, the dynamics are starting to change now, and it's going to be hot in the kitchen. It's going to be tough,” concluded Komphela.