Australia captain Ricky Ponting has admitted his team lacked ruthlessness as they lost the Ashes.
Ponting was speaking as he arrived back in Sydney to a low-key reception following defeat to England for the first time since 1989.
He said: "I think the ruthless edge comes from those really tough big defining moments in Test matches and that's where we didn't stand up.
"England had nothing to lose and they outplayed us."
Under-fire Ponting arrived at Sydney along with Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Michael Clarke and Stuart MacGill.
Vice-captain Adam Gilchrist and opening batsman Justin Langer were the first to touch down in Perth earlier on Wednesday.
Other players and coaching staff were heading to Adelaide and Brisbane while Shane Warne and Simon Katich remained in England with county side Hampshire.
The Australian team's quiet arrival was in stark contrast to England who on Tuesday enjoyed an open-top bus celebration through London, culminating at Trafalgar Square where tens of thousands delirious fans revelled in the win.
England drew the final Test at The Oval on Monday to win the series 2-1 and regain the Ashes for the first time since 1987.
The Australia players were arriving home to a torrent of criticism in the media.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph summed up the sense of loss sweeping through the country with the banner headline "The End", as they went about dissecting the reasons why Ponting's men had given up the coveted urn.
Cricket writer Robert Craddock predicted there will be sackings and said fast bowlers Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz must go and that batsmen Damien Martyn and Simon Katich were also on the hit list.
Australia will host the Ashes at the end of 2006 and Ponting added: "There's a burning desire to make sure we get those Ashes back as soon as we can."