We're pretty close to where we want to be
England captain Chris Robshaw reacted to his side's spirited loss to New Zealand by telling them to win Europe's Six Nations title.
In a gripping finale to their November campaign, England lost 22-30 to the world champions at Twickenham on Saturday, after overcoming a 14-point deficit to lead 22-20 heading into the final quarter.
But the All Blacks, displaying a cutting edge behind the scrum that England lacked, rallied with Julian Savea scoring his second try and the All Blacks' third of the match.
By contrast, England's lone try came when lock Joe Launchbury pounced on scrappy scrum ball close to New Zealand's line.
Victory preserved New Zealand's perfect winning record for 2013 as England lost for just the second time in 11 Tests.
"We're pretty close to where we want to be, but we're not quite there," said openside flank Robshaw.
"If we'd beaten New Zealand we'd have been pretty happy, but we're at that level where you can perform well and get close, but it's about winning," added Robshaw, who led England to a record 38-21 win over the All Blacks at Twickenham last year.
"We are improving game by game, week by week and tournament by tournament and we must make sure we continue that."
England don't play again until February, when they begin the 2014 Six Nations away to France in Paris.
"We've now finished second in the Six Nations for the last two years and the only way for us to improve is to win it," Robshaw added.
"We had a pretty good campaign last season, but unfortunately fell short at the final hurdle [losing to champions Wales].
"The good teams don't fall short, they take their opportunities," insisted Robshaw, who will hope to lead England when the country stages the next World Cup in 2015.
"The All Blacks didn't lose a game in the Rugby Championship. They are the benchmark, but we want to be better."
Robshaw ended a gruelling match with a black left eye worthy of a heavyweight boxer.
"I picked it up quite early. I clashed heads, it was nothing malicious. I just went in for a tackle and clashed heads, it's as simple as that," the Harlequins back row forward said.
"It's swollen up a bit, but I could see without any problems during the game. It's all right now. A couple of days and it will settle down."
England hooker Dylan Hartley suffered a more severe injury, going off 11 minutes into the second half with a bruised lung that required hospital treatment.