England manager Martin Johnson blamed lack of composure in Cardiff and Dublin for England's failure to win the RBS 6 Nations title.
It was the same quality which Johnson said carried his side to a 26-12 victory over Scotland at Twickenham in their final game.
"The guys stuck in there. It got a bit nervous, but they kept their composure well," stated Johnson.
"There were opportunities we missed - there always will be - and it was strange to have all the possession and the territory and lose the penalty count two to one. They kept pegging us back.
"We have scored 16 tries in the championship and it's a long time since we have scored that many.
"Overall we lost two away games to the teams playing for the championship by a combined nine points.
"We are there or thereabouts. We created opportunities all tournament, but we didn't have enough composure to win those games.
"That's what needs to improve, but it's getting better and the effort has been fantastic. I couldn't ask for anything more.
"We've been through big experiences in Cardiff and Dublin and it bodes well for the future. Quite a few guys have taken big steps and you always have an eye on the bigger picture, which is the World Cup. I think we're moving in the right direction."
Johnson added, however, that the fitness levels of some players need to be better to take on the likes of South Africa and New Zealand, who hammered England in the autumn.
"Our guys are fit, but you have to be fit enough to beat the best teams in the world. Some are there, but some now know what it takes.
"A lot of them have put themselves into real contention for the Lions, though."