Coach Brian Ashton took the blame for England's unconvincing 20-7 win over Italy at Twickenham.
England struggled to make their pressure tell in points
"I think we probably got the balance of our game wrong from the start," admitted Ashton.
"If that is the case, then it's my fault not the players'. I'll hold my hand up and say I got it wrong.
"I said all week what a difficult game this would be. It's pretty evident we've got a lot of work to do, but we knew we would have."
England put Italy under strong pressure early on but until Jason Robinson's try just before half-time, all they had to show for it was three Jonny Wilkinson penalties.
At times we tried to do a little bit too much with the ball, but Italy showed a lot of spirit and desire
"It took us until the last 10 minutes of the first half last week to get the dynamism in our game," said Ashton.
"Half-time came too early for us. If we had had another 10 minutes, we might have broken the back of it.
"But, fair play to Italy, they came out in the second half and stopped us getting any dynamism to our game. It became a tight contest."
Captain Phil Vickery was also unsurprised that England had to grind out a win over the Six Nations outsiders.
"Italy came here with very little pressure on them, and we knew how difficult it was going to be," he said.
Italy caused us a lot of problems
"We had to dog it out. Perhaps, at times, we tried to do a little bit too much with the ball, but Italy showed a lot of spirit and desire.
"The Italian forwards pose a huge threat. They've got a big pack, and we knew it would be a big test.
Wilkinson, who became the highest points scorer in Five/Six Nations history during the game, also paid tribute to Italy's grit.
"Italy did a lot of things very well, and they caused us a lot of problems," said the Newcastle fly-half.
"We had to spend a lot more time deep in our half than we did against Scotland, but we fought those challenges as a team and came through and won the game, which is what I guess you are measured on in the end."