Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric believes the lack of a proper pre-season is the major reason he has failed to live up to expectations since arriving in the Spanish capital.
The Croatian joined Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur after a prolonged period of transfer negotiations in August for nearly 40 million euros.
And the 27-year-old thinks that not taking a full part in pre-season preparations for either club has influenced his inability to find his best form this season.
"Everyone says the Spanish league is a very technical league and I agree, but it is also very demanding on a physical level," he said.
"It was a very demanding summer. I didn't have a pre-season and that has had an influence.
"I didn't know if I would be going to Real or not, which affected things and the whole team hasn't played like it did last season so this has also complicated things for me.
"But the squad have had a lot of patience with me, they have supported me and I have confidence in my ability. All I have to do is keep working hard every day to improve and things will get better."
With Madrid currently 16 points off league leaders Barcelona many expect Jose Mourinho to rest a few of his stars for the game against Sevilla on Sunday with one eye on their clash with Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday.
However, Modric believes their is still an obligation on Madrid to win every time they step on the field.
"We have given our all to win every game but unfortunately we haven't been able to do so. Every team that plays against Real plays to their maximum ability and don't give us space, but we are Real Madrid and we have to try and win every game.
"Sevilla are a good team, they are very good technically and they have our respect. Many teams are very motivated when they play against Real Madrid so we have to take it very seriously and play at our best level.
"I expect a very good game as always against Sevilla and it will be good preparation for the game against Manchester United."
Mourinho has recalled defender Pepe to the squad after over a month out with an ankle injury, but Angel di Maria misses out after he returned from international duty with Argentina with a slight hamstring problem.