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Martin Johnson insists England are improving

Dan Parks

Highlights - Scotland 15-15 England

Martin Johnson insists England are improving under his leadership amid continuing criticism of his team's performances in the Six Nations.

England's campaign has stalled after wins against Wales and Italy, with a loss to Ireland followed by Saturday's 15-15 draw in Scotland.

But manager Johnson told BBC Sport: "There is progress and improvement.

"You have to go through disappointments to improve. Having frustrations is part of building a team for the future."

And Johnson responded to criticism from the likes of former team-mate, turned BBC Sport pundit Lawrence Dallaglio who said that England lacked dynamism and a spark at Murrayfield.

"You don't get any sort of time in this world because people are quick to criticise," Johnson, who has been in his role for one month shy of two years, told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek.

"Guys get paid to work in the media and say what they see, but when I played it wasn't all sweetness and light.

"There are days when you don't play well but you try to grind out results. We've played four and we could have won three, we could also have lost three. The margins are that small.

"The easy thing is to start chopping and changing players, but there is progress and the core of a good team coming together."

606: DEBATE
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England can still win the Six Nations, but they need an unlikely set of results, starting with Italy wining in France on Sunday - the Italians have only beaten Les Bleus once in 30 previous meetings.

Scotland would then need to match that result in Ireland next Saturday afternoon leaving England with a title showdown in Paris later in the evening.

Realistically, Johnson expects to be going to the Stade de France to face a French side going for a Grand Slam but he remains convinced that could play into England's hands.

"It is always a great occasion in Paris," he added.

Johnson demands 'slicker' England

"They'll be going for the Grand Slam which puts pressure on them to win.

"They will try and blow us away in the first 20 minutes, but we will have opportunities against them and we have to be smart and know when to take them.

"Going to Paris is stepping into the big time and lots of our guys have been there twice before and won."

England recorded a 24-13 victory in the 2008 Six Nations tournament and won the World Cup semi-final 14-9 at the Stade de France in October 2007.



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see also
Johnson rues lack of cutting edge
13 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
England drop Wilkinson for Flood
17 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Robinson positive on Scots draw
13 Mar 10 |  Scottish
Scotland v England match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 15-15 England
13 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations photos
13 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union


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