Pep Guardiola can "completely understand" why his Manchester City players have yet to hit full stride this season and is confident they will soon get back to their best.
City drew 1-1 with West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday to leave them with eight points from five Premier League games – their lowest total at this stage since 2014-15.
Guardiola's men have failed to score more than once in their last three league matches and are in the bottom half of the table, five points behind top-two sides Everton and Liverpool.
However, the Catalan coach is unconcerned about a lack of goals, pointing to the injury absences of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero at various points as a key reason why.
"We have created enough chances but have two strikers injured and Raheem [Sterling] is playing in a position that makes him fight a lot," Guardiola said.
"Raheem is incredible and is doing this every day in a position that isn't his but we have no alternative.
"We are trying to adapt to the situation but even still we are creating chances. It's just the last decision that needs to be more clear but that is down to a lack of preparation.
"It is about no time to recover and players arriving tired - I completely understand. That's why you have to be patient and keep going. Sooner or later we will get back to our best."
Having only recently returned from a knee injury, Aguero was replaced at half-time against West Ham with a hamstring strain and joins fellow striker Jesus on the sidelines.
Fernandinho suffered an injury in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Porto while Benjamin Mendy, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are also nursing niggles.
Guardiola reiterated his concern over City's hectic fixture list, which sees them play two more away games over the next week.
"It is too much. We demand of the players something they cannot give," he said. "We stopped last season, they came back for two weeks and we went again.
"I try to demand everything from them but there is a limit. To compete for one or two competitions is fine, we can survive it.
"But every three days, and with international breaks playing three games, playing all these [club] competitions... we didn't have enough preparation to do it."
City managed just one shot on target in the opening 45 minutes against West Ham but improved in the second half and earned a point through Phil Foden, who replaced Aguero.
Guardiola felt his side did enough to win the game in the end, having tested Lukasz Fabianski a further five times after the interval.
"The players made an incredible effort again," he said. "Many things were good and we created chances to win the game but couldn't do it.
"But they tried and left absolutely everything on the pitch.
"Since day one when I arrived here it has been like this. Most of the time teams defend very deep. You have to create a process to do it, the right pass, the right movement.
"We created enough chances in the second half to win the game. We are still in the process of finding our best moment."