England coach Stuart Lancaster is pleased his side managed to keep pace with a more experienced Wales side for 75 minutes despite then falling to a 19-12 Six Nations defeat at Twickenham.
England were level at 12-12 with five minutes left and almost cancelled out Scott Williams' match-winnning try.
"Wales are a team who have been together a long time and we have been together for three weeks," he said.
"They are a very good defensive side and we caused them problems."
England's starting XV was the youngest they have named in Six Nations history with Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson and Owen Farrell starting Tests at number eight, scrum-half and fly-half respectively for the first time.
After wins away to Scotland and Italy in their first two matches of the tournament, England almost gave themselves a chance to maintain their unbeaten record under Lancaster.
David Strettle crossed the Wales line on the final play of the match, but was judged not to have grounded the ball by the video referee Iain Ramage.
Lancaster refused to be drawn on the decision.
"It was far away from us. I stopped looking because it was not my decision. I couldn't control it," he added.
"There are lots of lessons we can learn but games at this level are going to be won by very fine margins.
"It's up to us to learn those lessons and move on and that's part of team development.
"The intensity and the pressure of the situation and the inexperience in the squad were all things to test us but we played with credit and did the rose proud.
"After the first 15 minutes where we defended a lot again, I thought we got better set-piece ball and that gave us a chance to play and we played with tempo."
Farrell, who kicked all of England's points, was forced off before the end with cramp, but revelled in orchestrating England's backline.
"I really enjoyed it. I had a good time out there, but I felt like I made some mistakes in my first game at 10," he said.
"We really do believe in ourselves. We have made a massive step in the right direction and it is a massive game in two weeks against France in Paris."
After their trip to the French capital, England will have the chance to avenge the defeat that denied them a Grand Slam in last year's tournament by finishing their Six Nations campaign against Ireland at Twickenham on 17 March.