Pep Guardiola felt "guilty" that Manchester City misfired against Southampton but stressed it was not because they failed to sign a new striker.
The Premier League champions were held to a goalless draw by Saints at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and only registered one shot on target, that attempt coming from Phil Foden in the 90th minute.
Guardiola had infuriated some supporters by calling on more to turn up for the top-flight clash after a crowd of 38,062 attended the 6-3 Champions League thumping of RB Leipzig in midweek.
There were 52,698 watching the stalemate against Southampton and Guardiola felt responsible as City were unable to put on a show.
"[The fans] come to see a show, to see a game. When it doesn't happen I feel a bit guilty because we didn't play good,” he told the media.
Guardiola reiterated that he was not being critical of fans following the rout of Leipzig.
"I didn't say anything wrong after the Leipzig match," the Spaniard added. "I said we need support from our fans. I never complained about how many come or don't come. I've never done this in my life.
"I am grateful for 100 people, 85 people extra in the stadium. I thank them for coming. Of course they were awesome especially in the last minute when we pushed more. It was difficult to ask them to get right behind us when we are not good or we have lost."
City were linked with Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo during the transfer window after Sergio Aguero moved on, but they did not add to their forward line.
Guardiola, who had Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling in the starting line-up, refused to put a frustrating result against Ralph Hasenhuttl's side down to their inability to land a striker.
"Today we didn't not win because we didn't have a centre forward," Guardiola said.
"We didn't win because our process in the build-up was wrong or the better balls for players up front were not good. When they are good, they can run, arrive in other positions.
"That (a lack of a striker) is not the reason. The reason is because we didn't do our process from our back four and Fernandinho. The five guys who have to bring the ball to the other players were not good today."
City were relieved when a second-half penalty awarded against Kyle Walker was overturned, ensuring the England defender stayed on the field after he was initially shown a red card.
Sterling had a late goal disallowed for offside as City slipped up, leaving them three points behind leaders Liverpool.