Paul Collingwood says the England players deserve "medals" rather than criticism for getting through a miserable Ashes series as they were "sitting ducks” in Australia.
The tourists were subjected to a 4-0 hammering as Pat Cummins' side exploited their batting frailties Down Under.
Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Jonny Bairstow were among the England players who travelled to Australia soon after missing out on T20 World Cup glory in the United Arab Emirates.
England were also devoid of match practice with the red ball before doing battle with Australia.
Collingwood, England's assistant coach, says the strains of having to contend with bio-secure bubbles and such a demanding schedule meant they never really stood a chance of regaining the urn.
He said: "Yes, we made mistakes, 100 per cent we made selection mistakes, we made toss mistakes, but the fact we actually turned up and agreed a five-match Ashes series, the guys should be given medals for that.
"It would've been much better if we'd done two matches and then three next year. That would've been a great compromise.
"But no, Australia were not bothered that they were going to receive an England team who were mentally fatigued, they just wanted to get the product out there. They just wanted the Ashes. We were sitting ducks."
He added: "Resilience is a major quality you need to have when you go to Australia, and if your resilience is removed – because of the conditions you've been in – that has an effect.
"These guys don't deserve criticism. They should be told 'well done' for even going. It's the equivalent of the England football team being asked to go to a World Cup, then from that bubble into the Euros. Would you expect a performance in that scenario? It's ludicrous."
Collingwood, who has stepped up for head coach duties for the ongoing T20I series against West Indies, is concerned about the long-term effects being restricted to bubble environments will have on players.
"You can't even explain what it's like until you experience it," he said.
"Take someone like Chris Woakes, the most loveable and down-to-earth guy. I have seen him in some serious mental states. We have seen Ben Stokes, someone we consider to be the most mentally tough cricketer in the world, hit by this.
"I just hope there are no ramifications moving forward, because when they come, they won't be obvious next week or the week after. These are things that might come out down the line. That's what scares me."