Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt admitted his side had fallen short in a number of areas after a 32-15 loss to Australia at the Aviva Stadium.
Schmidt tasted defeat for the first time in an error-filled display in this Guinness Series clash as Ireland conceded four tries due to a number of frailties.
The former Leinster coach told RTÉ Sport: “I think it was more than defence. We probably still didn't kick as well as we needed to. We often had to kick under pressure. I thought Israel Folau was very dominant in the air and it didn't allow us to get any ball back when we were trying to clear our own area.
“We struggled a bit at set-pieces, turned over our first line-out and turned over another one when we had an opportunity to drive at the line and maybe get back into the game. I felt just before half-time we fought our way back into the game. The defending wasn't good enough but at 15-3 we fought our way back to 15-12.
“After half-time, losing Jonny (Sexton) didn't help. He just gives us that organisation. Having said that, it is valuable experience for Ian Madigan and he fought really hard in the position he was put into.
“Unfortunately the result is what it is and the Australians deserved it.”
“It is going to be a very tough ask but there is a fair bit of character in the side and hopefully they come back and keep the supporters interested next week.” - Joe Schmidt
Ireland were hampered by injuries to Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney with the Racing Metro man pulling up just on the half-time whistle.
Kearney was forced out in the closing stages but Schmidt revealed the period in the game had a big say in the immediate withdrawal and he is hopeful the Leinster man will be fit to face the All Blacks.
Schmidt said: “I'm not sure what grade it is (for Sexton's hamstring injury), we'll find out over the next 48 hours. I think Rob is okay, he was a little bit winded and he was a bit tender in the ribs but I'm hoping he'll be okay.
“At that stage we were looking to be more precautionary than leave him out there and put him at a risk of another knock.”
Ireland meet New Zealand in a daunting proposition next weekend to conclude the autumn tests.
The All Blacks secured a hard-fought win over England earlier today and the Irish have a huge task on their hands in the attempt to finally record a victory over the Southern Hemisphere side.
The head coach concluded: “We know how good they, we knew how good the Australians were. All we can do is prepare as best we can. That will start with trying to recover from this game over the next 48 hours.
“We will look at what we need to improve on and try to forge ahead from there. It is going to be a very tough ask but there is a fair bit of character in the side and hopefully they come back and keep the supporters interested next week.”