Martin Johnson admitted his England side would have to improve significantly to clinch an RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam next weekend against Ireland.
The England manager saw Tom Croft score England’s only try as they struggled to a 22-16 victory against Scotland at Twickenham.
Victory in Dublin next Saturday would give England their first Grand Slam triumph since 2003 when Johnson was captain, a feat which gave them the impetus to win the World Cup for the first time.
Johnson said: “Our mistakes kept them in the game. There were too many turnovers. The second half started brighter but we couldn’t land the killer blow.
“We had three or four cracking chances to score and couldn’t get in. They hassled and harried and got away with a few things at the breakdown. It was a mess which suited them. They knocked us out of our stride. But we battled through. All the guys are flat which is not a bad place when you have won four.”
Johnson, however, could be without captain Mike Tindall in Dublin after the centre left the fray at half-time with an injury to his left foot. He collected the Calcutta Cup from Princess Anne, his future mother-in-law, at the end but left Twickenham in a protective boot and was due to undergo precautionary X-rays. Johnson said: “There are a few battered bodies about. It was a pretty tough game. But it was not a bad game for us to go into next week. When everyone is telling you how good you are it can leak in a little bit. We’ve got lots to be better at. We’ll be in a fight next week. We can play a lot better than that. We’ve got to make sure we are a bit smarter the next time we play.
“Scotland came to fight for their lives. I’d be happier in a way going to Dublin next week off the back of that game rather than scoring a lot of points and having it easy today. It focuses everybody’s mind.”