Western Force coach Michael Foley believes the 24-8 loss to the Stormers is evidence his side has a long way to go before being considered genuine Super Rugby finals contenders.
Foley was also disappointed with his side's attitude in the Newlands defeat that knocked them out of a top-six spot.
However, while their finals aspirations took a hit, the Force are far from sunk. They remain just one point out of a qualifying position heading into Saturday night's match with the Lions at nib Stadium.
Foley has repeatedly played down speculation of a maiden finals appearance and was at it again yesterday.
"I've been very clear that we have got a lot to do if we want to be seriously considered as finalists," Foley said.
"Based on that game that is obviously the case. Our attitude has been a point of difference in other weeks, but we were out- enthused. Our attitude going into the game was off.
"Some of the defence we did early was excellent, but it's how we put ourselves in that position that is the issue.
"Early on we did a lot of defence, but we did not get off the line and we were not as aggressive as we have been in that area.
"If you are not in the right frame of mind it is very hard to get yourself back into the contest.
"If you are a little bit off you get punished for that mindset."
Foley is adamant the attitude problem can be fixed.
"There's nothing outside of our control that cost us that game," he said.
"The winning of that game was within our control."
What the game did prove was that even with their uncompromising defence, the Force cannot live on scraps alone.
In the past they have eked out results on limited territory and possession, but at one point they were clinging on with just 12 per cent of possession, 6 per cent territory and were forced to make 76 tackles in the first 40 minutes.
Under that sort of pressure, in a forward-dominated game of attrition, starvation becomes a slow and painful death.
The visitors were unable to get any momentum as they repelled wave after wave of Stormers attacks and it was almost inevitable they would crack.
They had another bad day at the line-out, their line speed was not at its best, and their kicking game was not effective.
There was little potency to the attack, blunted by a determined Stormers hungry to get off the bottom of the ladder.