Ten games, seven losses, just six points, and a spot right at the bottom of the table. That's not what the Chennai Super Kings are used to - not to mention their fans - and MS Dhoni conceded after the team's latest defeat, by seven wickets to the Rajasthan Royals, that "this season we were not really there".

As for the younger players in the squad, who, perhaps, could have been given a chance as the side floundered, Dhoni was direct, saying "maybe we didn't see the kind of spark" that would have forced the management to change things around.

"We tried a few things - that is one thing you don't want to do, you don't want to do too many chopping and changes because what really happens is after three-four, or five, games you are not really sure about anything," Dhoni told Star Sports, the official broadcasters, after the game in Abu Dhabi. "So you want to give guys a fair go. Then if you are not performing, you switch and go back to somebody else and then you give him the same kind of run. Insecurity is something that you don't really want to prevail in the dressing room.

"This season, we were not really there. And, also, there were a few chances to the youngsters and maybe we didn't see the kind of spark that they could have given us to say, okay, push [out] the experienced guy and maybe make some space for them (youngsters)."

The Super Kings have fielded 17 players so far, some because of injuries to the regular players. And Dhoni said that most of them would get a chance in the remainder of the games, perhaps hinting that he had given up hope of a turnaround - four wins in four might give them a chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

"Today, the result, what it really does is give those guys whatever is left in our league stages, they will get a chance and they will have no real pressure on them," he said. "They can go out and express themselves. And give us the option of looking at what are the options in batting line-up or where they would like to bat."

play
2:34

Sanjay Manjrekar on whether Dhoni got his tactics wrong

Sanjay Manjrekar on Dhoni's misreading the conditions against Rajasthan

Speaking at the press interaction after the game, coach Stephen Fleming admitted that the team was "pretty down" and was struggling to stay "upbeat and positive" after the succession of poor results.

"It's pretty down to be honest and it's fair enough too," he said of the mood in the camp. "We have come close in a couple of games, but today we were thoroughly outplayed. We knew it was a crucial game to stay in the competition and outside chance to probably get through. But when you're relying on other results and change of form for your own team, it's very hard to be upbeat and positive."

Dhoni's own batting form has been poor - 164 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 125.19 - and that, in no small measure, has contributed to the Super Kings, three-time IPL champions, being in the unfamiliar position of being table-proppers.

"You always try to address things. It is not always supposed to go your way. That's why what you try to see, going back to the process and seeing whether the process is wrong or maybe we were not able to execute, how the performance was on the field," he explained. "Result is always the byproduct of the process so we keep going back to that.

"What it helps is it really helps you think in a positive way. Because we play in front of our fans and millions of people so there's nothing much you can hide. But the fact still remains that if you are more busy with the process then that undue pressure of results doesn't get into the dressing room."