Didier Drogba says Chelsea's youngsters need time to adapt after an overhaul of the squad in the summer.
The champions sold or released proven internationals Michael Ballack, Ricardo Carvalho, Joe Cole, Deco and Juliano Belletti during the close season.
Josh McEachran, Jeffrey Bruma, Gael Kakuta, Patrick van Aanholt and Daniel Sturridge have been promoted but Drogba believes they need time to come good.
He told Sports Illustrated: "We've had a lot of injured players, and the team has changed from last year. We lost five great players in Ballack, Belletti, Deco, Carvalho and Joe Cole.
"And we replaced them with young players like Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran and Van Aanholt.
"They are good players, but they need time to adapt."
The Blues have recently undergone their worst run of results in the top flight for almost 15 years and the situation has not been helped with Drogba, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Michael Essien missing part of the season through injury or illness.
But the key players are now all back and Drogba is hoping to rediscover his own top form following a bout of malaria.
He added: "At first, the tests didn't show that it was malaria. The doctor thought it was flu, so that's why we lost time.
"While we thought it was flu, I was playing, because for me I can handle flu.
"I lost fitness, but I was working hard and trying to help the team.
"For me to be playing now, it's already a good start because it was a difficult moment for me to have malaria - very difficult."
The Ivorian smashed in 37 goals for Chelsea last season but has managed just nine so far this term.
He added: "It's maybe not what I was expecting, but I've had malaria and surgery before the beginning of the season for my hernia to make sure I'll be okay for the next few years.
"I won't say I'm happy because we're having a difficult moment, but when you look at the amount of games I've played and the number of goals and assists I've had, I know it's not the best, but it's not bad. And I can continue to improve that.
"I'm not worried about my performance.
"If we win the league and I score only 10 goals, for me it's fine."