Steve McClaren promised straight-talking and he did not hold back as he delivered a brutally honest assessment of England's performance against Macedonia.
McClaren was angrier with the performance than the 0-0 scoreline.
He accused his players of poor passing, poor crossing and poor finishing and demanded an instant improvement in Croatia on Wednesday.
McClaren said: "I think there was enough effort but there wasn't our usual quality.
"Our passing wasn't as fluid. Our final ball wasn't there or the finish. We failed to score.
"I always go on performance and it was a disappointing performance and a frustrating one and I didn't need to tell the players. You could see that in their faces and in their eyes. They knew it.
"This is one time when we feed back to the players on reflection, on looking at the game and being brutally honest about our deficiencies in that performance.
"The biggest words were frustrated and disappointed."
McClaren was also ready to concede that Wayne Rooney was having problems finding his form after six months of injuries and suspensions.
Rooney had one shot saved by Macedonia's excellent keeper Jane Nikolovski, in the second half, but was subdued at Old Trafford.
He was taken off as England pressed for a winner and replaced by Jermain Defoe, 15 minutes from time.
McClaren said: "Nobody is more frustrated than Wayne Rooney. He is below his usual performances, everybody can see that, but Wayne's got the resilience and the character we have to show as a team."
Rooney's last goal in a competitive England game came against Croatia in the group stage of Euro 2004 in Portugal.
He scored twice as SvenGoran Eriksson's team won 4-2 in Lisbon but has only found the net twice for his country since then  both in friendlies.
Rooney's barren spell for England stretches back to the victory over Argentina, in November last year, but it is not only his lack of goals which is causing concern. He has made little impact in his recent international games.
McClaren insists Rooney is an automatic choice as long as he is fit but the England boss has told all his players to deliver more in Zagreb and drag the qualification campaign on track.
Defeat in Croatia would pile pressure on the England boss after only five games at the helm and with five months to wait before the next qualifier, away to Israel in March.
McClaren said: "I expect a better performance. I've always said if you win your home games and get a point away against the better teams, then you will qualify.
"We've done four points from Macedonia and they've shown that they're not a bad side.
"We know what we have to do and we're determined to do it, to get back to work and put it right.
"This is international football and we've all had many days in the past like this.
"We have a game in four days. We've got to make sure we're better against Croatia."
Steven Gerrard is banned from the Croatia game after receiving his second yellow card in two games against Macedonia.
It leaves McClaren short of options and experience in midfield, where he is already without injured duo Owen Hargreaves and Joe Cole.
Rio Ferdinand hopes to be fit to return in defence after a back spasm ruled him out of the Macedonia game and that could mean a switch into mid-field for Ledley King.
McClaren said: "We picked a squad for the two games and anything could happen. It's too early to make a decision on anything but we'll look at that situation."
The squad will regroup today, train tomorrow and fly to Zagreb on Tuesday.
McClaren said: "Croatia is always a tough place to play. The atmosphere will be tremendous. They have extremely passionate fans and it is going to be a big test for us."
Croatia have been managed by former Everton and West Ham defender Slaven Bilic since July and are notoriously hard to beat on home turf.
They finished top of their qualifying group for this year's World Cup, ahead of Sweden, Bulgaria and Hungary and opened their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a 0-0 draw in Russia.