England captain Alastair Cook has rejected suggestions his side underestimated New Zealand during their winter tour and says his side will need to be at their best if they are to win the upcoming return series.
Cook's side were outplayed by the Kiwis for large parts of the three-game series in March but battled to a 0-0 draw.
"I don't think we were complacent. We didn't play as well as we could have done, that is the bottom line," said Cook, whose side face New Zealand at Lords this week in the first of two Tests.
With home advantage, England will begin the series as favourites against a Kiwi side ranked six places below them in the world rankings.
But Cook believes recent past results and rankings will have no bearing on the upcoming contest.
"It doesn't matter what has gone on before," said the 28-year-old. "It is a hugely important series and we are firmly concentrating on these two weeks of cricket against New Zealand. They have proved how difficult they are to beat and we have to be at our best here.
"We've done a lot of talking and had a good build-up to this Test match. We're excited about being at Lords and being back at home again."
England will have Graeme Swann back to face New Zealand after we underwent elbow surgery during the winter.
And Cook is delighted to see his side's bowling strengthened by the return of the Nottinghamshire spinner.
"It is great to have him (Swann) back," said Cook. "He adds strength in depth to the spin department. You can't buy experience and you always miss players of that calibre when they are not around.
Tim Bresnan is also back after also undergoing an operation on his elbow and Cook feels the Yorkshire pace bowler will provide much needed strength in depth.
"It is great to have Bresy (Bresnan) back in the squad," added Cook. "With the amount of cricket we're playing in the next 12 months we are going to need more than just 11 players. We'll do as we always do and pick the best 11 for the conditions."