City were outplayed by Baroka in their midweek 1-1 draw in Cape Town on Tuesday, with McCarthy acknowledging that his side was rather lucky not to lose the match.
“It seems to be a familiar pattern with us, a very good first-half, poor second-half or poor first-half and a decent enough second half," McCarthy said.
“And [against Baroka] we started like we were still on holiday, enjoying the international break, we were second to everything and the guys were lethargic and looked like they couldn’t play football.
“And we were extremely fortunate to still be in the contest when we got to half-time.
“In the second half, we started a little better in the first ten minutes but we were still flat as they came until we conceded and then we started to wake up and started to have urgency in our game. And we deservedly got back into the game.
“It’s a story of Cape Town City’s life at the moment where we allow teams to score against us easily and we can’t kill them off and [again] we threw away three vital points.”
But, the 40-year-old has since called on his charges to change their attitude ahead of their meeting against Arrows tomorrow.
“I think our attitude has to get better [against Arrows],” he added.
“We can’t wait until teams score before we want to wake up and we want to play. I think we need to start from the first whistle.
“So, I think for Arrows, it is quite similar to this. Baroka, they move those boys and I think if we are going to perform the same way we did against Baroka we might not be as lucky as we were in the first half against Arrows.
“They will punish us and then it will be too late, so definitely our attitude and the way we go into games [will have to change].
“The way we start games has to change."
Since their MTN-8 final defeat by SuperSport United on the 14th of October, the Citizens have lost three of the five matches that followed, winning one and drawing the other.