Skipper Lewis Moody agreed with Johnson's assessment but remains pleased with the progress shown by England - with the victory against Australia a highlight - ahead of the Six Nations and next year's World Cup in New Zealand.
"In the second half, we tried to play and we created a lot of opportunities but the ball just wouldn't stick in hand and we forced the ball a little too much. They played well," said Moody.
"But I am very proud. We have come and played rugby in every game [in the autumn Tests]. It's just difficult when you've come off a defeat like today to look back and still be happy about things.
"We have to happy with the way we're playing at the minute. We're building and we're confident as a group - we're a tight-knit group now.
"We just have to keep building, keep delivering and keep believing in ourselves."
De Villiers proud of SA 'belief'
South Africa coach Peter De Villiers felt his team's "show of character" was more important than the actual result at Twickenham.
"England are a very good side we respect them a lot but we believe in what we are doing and how we are doing it," said De Villiers.
"We didn't convert all of our efforts into points but we'll take the win.
"We are a team that like to be defined by our character and winning, for us, is a just reward for our hard work. We will always do our best because our people back home deserve the best."
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