Lancaster’s side were edged out 22-17 by the Springboks in the opening game of their three-match series at Durban’s Kings Park on Saturday.
The challenge now gets tougher with the second Test taking place at altitude in Johannesburg and the Springboks’ limited preparation time no longer a factor, but Lancaster insists players are far from disheartened.
He said: “The boys are disappointed. They want to win. But when we look back on it, at half-time we were definitely in a positive mindset and we felt we had the better of the first half, even though it was only 6-6.
“The good thing is we have already seen one or two areas we can fix up. The players are talking about it already and that is a good sign. They are not downcast and they are feeling there is no chance of turning up next week and not winning. If anything, this will be their motivation to right the wrongs we did in this game.”
England fought hard in the first half and twice led with Owen Farrell penalties but both were cancelled out by Morne Steyn. The Springboks upped the tempo after the break and relentless pressure eventually told as Steyn and new captain Jean de Villiers broke through for tries.
England responded with two more Farrell penalties but another two from Steyn put the game beyond them despite an impressive late consolation from Ben Foden in the corner.
Scorers for South Africa: Tries: M Steyn, de Villiers. Pens: M Steyn 4.
Scorers for England: Tries: B Foden. Pens: O Farrell 4.
SOUTH AFRICA: Z Kirchner, JP Pietersen, F Steyn, J de Villiers, B Habana, M. Steyn, F Hougaard, T Mtawarira, B. du Plessis, J. du Plessis, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, W Alberts, M Coetzee, P Spies.
Replacements: P Lambie for Kirchner (40), R Pienaar for Hougaard (56), A Strauss for B. du Plessis (65), C Oosthuizen for J du Plessis (49), F van der Merwe for Etzebeth (58), K Daniel for Coetzee (72).
ENGLAND: M Brown, C Ashton, M Tuilagi, B Barritt, B Foden, O Farrell, B Youngs, J Marler, D Hartley, D Cole, G Parling, M Botha, T Johnson, C Robshaw, B Morgan.
Replacements: J Joseph for Brown (78), T Flood for Barritt (53), L Dickson for B Youngs (72), P Doran-Jones for Marler (72), L Mears for Hartley (75), T Palmer for Botha (58), P Dowson for Morgan (61).
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia).