England captain Jason Robinson insisted he was proud of his side's performance despite a third straight RBS 6 Nations defeat to Ireland on Sunday.
The 2003 world champions and Grand Slam winners fell 19-13 to title-chasing Ireland in Dublin and, after losses to both Wales and France in their opening two matches, England have made their worst start to a championship for 18 years.
But Robinson believes the team are heading in the right direction after an improved display at Lansdowne Road.
"We've lost another game but I could not be more proud of my players," he said.
"A few of the decisions did not go our way but credit to Ireland they hung on and won the game.
"It's three defeats in three games now but on a positive note the team is showing signs of coming on.
"We played for 80 minutes and while defeat is not easy to swallow we will come back from this."
Robinson admitted Ireland could now go on to win the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
"They are good enough," he said.
"They have a balanced side, a strong pack, O'Gara is a good kicker and O'Driscoll is always ready to run the ball.
"They are a good team and could go all the way but there may be a twist in the tail yet.
"At this level there are no such things as guarantees. You just turn up and give it your best and sometimes that's good enough and sometimes it isn't.
"I think the championship will go right down to the wire and Wales are bound to have a say in it too."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.