Phil Neville has taken full responsibility for the Lionesses 2-1 defeat at Wembley against Germany, yesterday but cites the occasion and a World Cup hangover as the reasons why they lost.
Ellen White's expertly taken daisy-cutting half volley levelled the scores but Nikita Parris saw her penalty spot kick saved as England tumbled to a last minute goal in front of 77 768 supporters – a record for a woman's match.
Neville said: “The players are not celebrating. We had to go out there and perform. We wanted to beat the second best team in the world, that was a real killer blow at the end.
The first 22 minutes and the last eight minutes, cost us.
We were not good enough. Germany were better than us and that's why they won.”
Neville reckons the players haven't recovered yet from the misery of losing a World Cup semi-final in the summer – and it's his job to ensure they do. He takes the squad to the Czech Republic on Tuesday for another friendly where wholesale changes are expected.
He said: “It's a challenge. It's my job to make sure they are ready.
In tournaments there are games in a short space of time and we have to recover quickly.
We have to win on Tuesday.
“It's a sickener because of the emotional high. But it's what the best players do, they have to go again on Tuesday.
It's a challenge. It's my job to make sure they are ready.
“We have gone backwards. There is no hiding from the fact. We have spoken about it as a group. One (win) in seven is totally unacceptable.
It's not what I see as success. We need to do something about it very quickly.
“We can talk about coming down from the emotional highs of the World Cup, but we are now in November, that becomes an excuse, and we are not having any excuses.
“It starts with me, I have got to take responsibility of those results, I'm the one who picks the team, sets the tactics, I train them, talk to them, so ultimately the buck stops with me.
The team reflects the manager, results aren't good enough which means I'm not good enough."
England could have been several goals down before they got themselves a foothold in the match.
“We were lucky to come out of this game after 20 minutes only losing 1-0,” he said.
“But after that we started to play how we wanted to play, how we trained. The game went as we thought it would.
“But we need to work on the emotional control in the first part of the game when its the real critical moments. That is top class football. You cannot lose concentration for a split second against the top teams, we can't switch off.
That's what we are trying to find, that consistency of performance and behaviour. That's the
ultimate challenge for the players and me.”
England lost to the US in the World Cup in the summer and while he does not want to use it as an excuse for losing to Germany, Neville won't ignore it.
He said: “We obviously haven't recovered from the disappointment of the World Cup yet. It's something we have to focus on.
“Six or seven of my players are producing at the level, but the rest that need to get up to their level.”
Neville said he will talk to Parris about taking the spot kicks as it's something that has to be addressed.
“(Not scoring them) is costing,” he said.
“But it takes courage to take them – Nikita has done that. I had confidence she would score. She will continue to take them for club and us when needed.
“It's happened in women and men's side – winning shoot-outs and penalties, but we need to stick them away. We will have to speak to Nikita – I won't take it off her if she is feeling confident and has belief.”