Gareth Barry accepts no matter how well England perform in their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign they will still have to win over a sceptical public once they get to Poland and Ukraine.
England's poor World Cup campaign was made more disappointing by the fact Fabio Capello's men recorded nine wins from 10 during qualifying to push themselves forward as potential winners.
Tomorrow they start the whole process again at Wembley, when Bulgaria are the first opponents in a bid to reach the next European Championships.
Victory is expected, even if it cannot be guaranteed. But, even if England win and then double up by beating Switzerland in Basle on Tuesday to collect a maximum haul from their opening two games, Barry knows doubts will still remain.
"What happened in South Africa was hard to take after we qualified with such flying colours," he reflected.
"Going forward and defensively, we looked very good.
"Maybe that did affect us a bit. We were on a high and the country felt we had a proper chance.
"But on the big stage it didn't happen. Everyone realises now that it's not about how we qualify.
"The main objective is just to qualify and then have a good tournament."
Even as Fabio Capello's future was being debated, reasons were being offered as to why a team that qualified in such style, containing players who weekly hit the highest notes in what is supposedly the best league in the world, should perform quite so badly.
Barry takes on board many of the points. He did question his own ability for a start.
He also embraces the idea of a winter break, which seems so obvious but has proved impossible to incorporate within the fixture calendar.
But the normally laid-back Manchester City midfielder positively bristles when it is suggested that the simple reason England so consistently perform below expectations is because the players themselves are not that bothered and feel no pride in wearing those Three Lions on their chest.
"It is annoying when people say we don't care," said Barry. "It is nonsense.
"Everyone knows we want to win as much as anyone. We are here to win.
"Defeat is hard to take for anyone. But when it is you being spoken about, it is tough to deal with.
"You just have to try to not listen to those who speak negatively."Reuse content