“We had to dig deep, I think Scotland were great,” Watkins told Love Rugby League.
“We knew they were going to be great, they’ve got some good players in there.
“Obviously they were disappointed with their start last week, so they wanted to come up with a good start against us, and they certainly did that.
“But for us, we were poor in the first half, in terms of getting control of the game.
“I think we didn’t apply pressure as much as they did, and they punished us for that.
“We’ve got to give them a lot of credit. The boys got themselves back together and tried to put things right.
“I’m very happy with the result. The intensity was tough, and that showed that it was kind of like a derby.
“We knew they’d be up for it and keen, and they were very good.
“They’ve got some good players in their team, and if they continue to work together they’ll turn into a good side.
“So I give them a lot of credit.
“But at the same time we got the win, and we were pleased with that, but not the performance.”
Watkins was disappointed with the quality of the England performance, though he was relieved that Wayne Bennett’s team managed to achieve victory in the end.
“It was a mixture of our scratchiness and Scotland‘s intensity,” he said.
“Their intensity was very high. The way we squandered in the first half wasn’t great, and we gave them opportunities that they deserved.
“It was important that we got that all back together and ramped it up through the middle.
“I thought our middles were great to get us back into the game, and we got the win in the end.”
Watkins wants to see more cohesion and quality from the good players in the England squad.
“We need to be better with the ball, and be a lot more disciplined,” he said.
“It’s really important to keep possession as much as possible, and we didn’t do that in the first half here.
“But we know we’ve got the players to battle these top teams and come out with a win.
“The main thing is that we need to do our absolute best out there on the field, and there were times against Scotland where it wasn’t there.
“We need to keep it rolling and take a little bit of confidence into next week.
“We really need to pick our game up so it’s better next week.”