Roy Hodgson admitted England did not deserve to be cheered off following their dour goalless draw against Costa Rica.
England headed home last night with their lowest points total in World Cup history.
After defeats to Italy and Uruguay, the Three Lions rounded off their World Cup campaign with a fittingly underwhelming stalemate in Belo Horizonte.
The England fans inside the Estadio Mineirao still stood and applauded the squad when they came over to them following the final whistle though.
And even though Hodgson thought his team played well in Belo Horizonte, he conceded the team’s World Cup performance as a whole did not merit such a send off from the travelling support.
“We are very grateful for the emotional moment at the end where they showed their support,” said the England manager, who has the full backing of the Football Association despite the team’s poor showing in Brazil.
“We are so sad and disappointed for them because we know what they’re going through.
“We had nothing to play for, and our fans appreciated that by giving us an ovation that, obviously, our results didn’t merit.”
For the third game in succession England wasted several good chances to clinch their first win in Brazil.
But Luke Shaw, Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana put in promising performances, which gives Hodgson hope looking towards 2016.
“We are disappointed that it was our final game in the competition because we wanted so much more,” Hodgson added.
“But I thought there were a lot of positives to take out of the game with young players getting their first taste of World Cup football, which will serve them in good stead going forward.”
Hodgson was impressed by Wilshere, Ross Barkley and Lallana, although the England manager conceded they still have work to do before they become top internationals.
“The midfielders, the young ones, showed they want to do the right thing, want to get on the front foot and be positive, and want to make things happen,” Hodgson said.
“We can only give them the opportunity to play and hope they get there.”