Steve McClaren wore the air of a worried man, a frown occupying the plot where the perma-smile once had residence.
It would be going too far to suggest he looked and sounded like a man who knew the game was up, but six months into his England reign the brave new world he promised when he was ushered into Soho Square amid a scrum of photographers is falling around ears which must still be resounding with the boos of Old Trafford.
"We lacked that final ball," explained McClaren after England’s 1-0 home defeat by Spain. "That volley or that bit of magic."
If only that were all. The truth is that England lacked much more than that, even allowing for the fact that Wayne Rooney was missing along with five or so others who could legitimately expect to take the field for the crucial European Championship qualifier against Israel in Tel Aviv next month.
Hands up those who think all will suddenly be sweetness and light when the absentees ride back into town? Thought not.
And that’s the point. There has been a systematic erosion in the confidence of everything that surrounds England.
It is no good McClaren bleating that cohesion was disrupted because the team was missing injured players.
Injuries happen. Few teams ever turn out their strongest line-up.
The truly depressing aspect of McClaren’s England is that they appear to be operating in a vacuum of ideas and organisation, devoid of any real sense of direction.
There is no common thread to their play, nothing to identify them as England other than their willingness to surrender the ball cheaply and an increasing uncertainty.
Steven Gerrard can be excused from such criticism.
If one positive emerged from the lop-sided display against Spain it was confirmation that in Gerrard England do possess a heart and soul. They just have to learn to nurture it.
True, Gerrard played only the first 45 minutes, McClaren having done a deal with Liverpool which proved the too-cosy relationship with Premiership bosses still exists.
But everything that was good about England came through him. Drive, determination, the ability to pass with precision and bite in the tackle.
Gerrard should have been given a free role long since in the centre of midfield and to those who say he and Frank Lampard cannot both produce their best in the same team there is one easy solution. Drop Lampard.
There is no denying the Chelsea midfielder has been brilliant for Jose Mourinho these past three years. But too often he has left his best form at Stamford Bridge.
When McClaren was appointed one of the most attractive ideas was that selection would no longer be based on reputation but purely on form. In Lampard’s case it is time for that soundbite to grow some teeth.
But there is so much about England right now which is distressing.
High up there is beanpole striker Peter Crouch. I have nothing against Crouch, who for a tall man is technically gifted and a useful weapon to throw on for 15 minutes or so if others have not delivered.
But the more England play Crouch, the more likely they are to be impaled on the long, hopeful, hanging crosses which inevitably ensue.
It is stone-age football and increasingly defenders have worked out ways to impede a man who stands 6ft 7in but often seems to leap all of 5ft 6in.
There has to be a better way and at least Kieron Dyer proved in bursts that pace and trickery is the way forward.
A pity the same could not be said for the lamentable Shaun Wright-Phillips, blessed with such fleetness of foot but a mind which has been addled by too much inactivity on the Stamford Bridge bench.
The fact that a player who is rarely trusted to play a game for his club can be considered good enough for England perhaps tells us all we need to know about McClaren’s state of mind.
A fog of confusion reigns.
Will it clear in time for that vital night in Tel Aviv in six weeks?
All England must hope so. Or the European Championships and McClaren would surely be history.