Steve McClaren shouldered the blame for England's defeat after his radical tactical switch backfired.
McClaren admitted his 3-5-2 formation had not worked as his team slumped to their first defeat of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
England went behind to a header from Croatia's Brazilian-born striker Eduardo da Silva early in the second half, before a bizarre own goal from Gary Neville killed the game. Neville's backpass bobbled over Paul Robinson's foot and rolled into the net.
McClaren said: "We lost the game, so obviously the tactics didn't work. I always believe we do need to change systems and we do need another one. It was my decision to change and we lost the game, so it's my responsibility.
"I looked at the injuries and the suspension of Stevie Gerrard and, knowing it was a difficult place to come, thought we needed experience and character.
"When you come away in international football, you have to try to control the game and quieten the crowd. We thought that system would do that."
McClaren is braced for a barrage of criticism. He said: "If we win it, I accept the plaudits and if we lose, I accept the criticism. We lost because of our own mistakes. I was very disappointed we conceded the first from a cross. Once that happened, we were always chasing the game."
Goalkeeper Robinson had kept six successive clean sheets before the game and would have equalled Gordon Banks' record of seven had he kept out Croatia. He pulled off some brilliant saves before he was beaten by Da Silva and his night ended in misery when he missed Neville's back-pass.
McClaren said: "He didn't deserve that. It was unfortunate. He had been outstanding and was very disappointed. That killed the game. It's hard to come back from that."