Roy Hodgson hailed the conduct of England supporters in Dublin but could find few words of praise for his players after they stuttered to a dull 0-0 draw at the Aviva Stadium.
England’s first trip to play the Republic of Ireland in 20 years passed off without incident in the stands. The England supporters heeded the Football Association’s warning to refrain from chanting inflammatory songs during the first match the Three Lions have played in Dublin since the Lansdowne Road riot of 1995.
But they had little to cheer about either as they were subjected to one of the most tedious England games in living memory.
Hodgson struggled to find any positives from the stalemate in the Irish capital.
“We set ourselves high standards and got nowhere near them in the first half,” the England manager said.
“We were marginally better in the second half, but we were very critical of ourselves.”
England mustered just three shots on target and Wayne Rooney stumbled when through on goal to waste the visitors’ best chance of the afternoon.
Hodgson concedes his men will have to perform better at next year’s European Championship in France.
“It’s important we are critical,” said the England boss, who takes his team to Slovenia next Sunday for the final Euro 2016 qualifier of the season.
“We want to go to France and play teams there, and we’ll have to play better than we did today.”