England went down by 75 runs to Pakistan in the first Test at Lord's and losing captain Alastair Cook refused to cite the absences of James Anderson and Ben Stokes as a crucial factor.
Needing 283 for victory on day four, the hosts were bowled out for 207 with no man going on to make a truly telling contribution that might have underpinned a successful chase.
All-rounder Stokes missed the first of the four-match series due to a knee problem, while Anderson - England's all-time leading Test wicket taker - was left out to continue his recovery from a shoulder injury.
Both men were in action in the County Championship at Southport as Lancashire took on Durham, and Cook insisted their omissions did not contribute to the Lord's defeat.
"Stokes and Anderson not being here was not why we lost, that's the wrong way to look at things, we have a side that was good enough to win," he told Sky Sports.
"It's great that they are back, they seem to be back, but we have to digest this overnight and pick a squad for Old Trafford.
"Credit to Pakistan, they played a good four days, but we're very confident we can beat them, but we have to get better."
Cook felt his team's failings with the bat were ultimately what cost them dear, while he reserved special praise for stand-out performer Chris Woakes, who finished with match figures of 11-102.
"We left a few runs out there [in the first innings] when the pitch was best to bat on. We paid the price for that. We were always slightly behind," Cook said.
"I thought we were okay on the first day, and then on the second day to allow Yasir [Shah] to take six wickets when the ball wasn't turning - he bowled beautifully - but that hurt us.
"There's a bitter taste in the dressing room right now. Some of the shots [in the second innings were risky] but we'll never tell people how to play, it is up to the individuals to change.
"I always thought we were two wickets behind what we wanted to be. It's really frustrating. We've lost before, we can bounce back.
"Chris Woakes was outstanding, not many seamers take 11 wickets at Lord's. He doesn't deserve to be on the losing side."