World Cup winner Josh Lewsey has insisted England have come a long way during their autumn Test series - despite losing to arch-rivals Australia for the first time in six years at Twickenham.
England's next game is just under 10 weeks away - a tricky RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against Wales in Cardiff - and they will travel on the back of a home defeat.
But Wasps wing Lewsey has delivered an upbeat verdict at the end of a year when England lost more games, six, than they won.
"We've come a long way in the last three weeks, because it's less than six months ago that we were getting thumped in Australia by 50 points,'' he said.
"Although it really hurts to have lost, I am sure it will be something we can learn from.
"We have been through it before, and the side that won the World Cup was so tough because of all those lost Grand Slams.
"Now we know what is needed to win these games,'' added Lewsey, after England succumbed 21-19 to a late Matt Giteau penalty double after they fought back to lead by four points following tries from Lewsey, his fellow wing Mark Cueto and flanker Lewis Moody.
"We've had a lot of stick about our back play - about not being creative - and the nature of the Premiership is that it's all so physical,'' Lewsey added.
"But we have the players who can score tries, and at times we looked very dangerous. 19 points unanswered shows it can be done.''
England coach Andy Robinson also believes England are on the right road following an autumn series which produced a par score of two victories - over South Africa and Canada - from three starts.
"It (the RBS 6 Nations) is a long way away at the moment, but I am really pleased with the way this squad has pulled together,'' Robinson said.
"It would be very easy to go inwards because we lost a game, very easy to panic, but that won't happen.
"We have learned a hard lesson, and I think it will make the team even tighter. It showed just what an unforgiving place international rugby is.''