Sterling has struggled at Chelsea since his £50million move from Manchester City in the summer, while he has scored just one goal in his past 10 appearances.
He returns to his former club in the Carabao Cup tonight, as he bids to play himself into some form ahead of the World Cup.
Blues boss Potter said: “He’s at a prime age, he’s got all the quality you see every day in training and the desire is there.
“He wants to help the team. He’s suffering with the team, just like the rest of us are. We all want to do better and all want to improve our performance, and we want to improve how the team functions.
“That’s where the work is. It’s not about zooming into individuals, I don’t think that’s fair to anybody.
“I don’t think we have functioned well enough as a team, so the criticism is towards me, towards the collective, towards us all, in terms of can we do better as a team to create more chances, not just for him, but for everybody?
“When we play Arsenal it’s about [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, when we play City it’s about Sterling, but it’s ultimately always about the team.”
Potter is set to rotate his squad at the Etihad Stadium after Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal.