Gareth Southgate held back on criticising England's performance in their 1-0 defeat to Italy that saw them relegated to League B of the Nations League on Friday.
A lacklustre game of football saw Italy steal all three points thanks to a second half strike from Giacomo Raspadori, condemning England to a fifth game without victory for the first time in eight years and confirming their Nations League relegation.
England were poor again on the night in a performance that worried fans watching on, with their World Cup opener against Iran less than two months away.
But, speaking to media after the game, Southgate maintained that there were positives: "[It's] difficult of me to be too critical of the performance: more possession, more shots, more shots on target.
"I personally felt the performance was a step in the right direction," he added.
"[But] I appreciate because of the result that won't be the reaction.
"I understand the reaction at the end, as that's the results we've had. It's an emotional reaction."
England were booed off the field at San Siro as their relegation was confirmed, having now failed to score in over four hours of football.
They face Germany at Wembley on Monday night in what is their last game before the World Cup in November, and their last chance to end a disastrous Nations League campaign with a victory, having gone winless in all five group stages games thus far.