"It takes time. We've come a long way in a short space of time and today was as tough a test as you could have against a team that presses like that and are so good in possession".
"But I think we have got to keep faith in the way we're trying to play, otherwise we go back to what we did historically and there's no way I believe we'll ever be a top team if we do that".
"As a team you don't want it, to any player you don't want the situation to happen", he said.
"We know the quality they possess".
Southgate's opposite number Luis Enrique, who was overseeing his first match in charge of Spain, admitted he hadn't been able to see the play from his vantage point.
England have achieved so much under Southgate.
"Some of them haven't had football with their club this year so they need to play".
Here's hoping that there will not be another set-back for the promising full-back. "There aren't many English strikers playing", he said. "I think it's the right thing to focus on the job, and I'm sure, as and when there's anything to update, we will do that".
With Jamie Vardy's self-enforced exile further reducing England's options, Southgate was also asked about the chances of a recall for Theo Walcott.
"Danny's just stood there, and De Gea's gone up and he's caught the ball but as he's come down he's fallen on top of Danny".
"We have got plenty of other good strikers like Rashford".
"Going by numbers and performances, he is world's number one". 'Me and the defenders were challenging for the ball.
Saul acknowledged it will be hard for the current crop to emulate Spain's achievements with Barcelona maestros Iniesta and Xavi in midfield, having won successive European Championships either side of the 2010 World Cup.
But England failed to take advantage of the feelgood factor from Russian Federation, losing their third straight match after their semi-final defeat against Croatia and their loss to Belgium in the third-place play-off.
"He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he is proving it in the Premier League week-in, week-out and I never had any doubts".
"But I'm comfortable in my own skin. It's developing the England team". The priority is not me.