Wales coach Iestyn Harris felt his side gave New Zealand a stern test despite losing 36-0 to the world champions at Wembley on Saturday.
The result condemned the Welsh to their second successive Four Nations loss but Harris believes the scoreline did not reflect the battling performance his side produced.
"I thought we matched New Zealand physically, which was really pleasing," he said.
"But when you play at international level it is not so much the intensity lift but the continuous intensity lift. That is probably what we struggled with.
"Now and again somebody would clock off or offensively someone would make an unforced error.
"We just kept opening the door to them and when you do that to a side like New Zealand they then create pressure on you.
"They were a little bit better at that than us but with regards to the scoreline, I didn't think it reflected the difference between the two sides.
"I didn't think there was that much between us. They just had a little more energy than us because we lacked composure.
"I thought that was the story of the game and I am sure if you ask New Zealand if they have been in a game, I am sure they will tell you it was a physical contest."
Harris also thought that his team had shown some improvements since last week's 42-4 defeat at the hands of England.
"I think they have learned they can deal with this level physical-wise," he added. "Mental-wise it is just some awareness we need to work on.
"That is what you get playing at this level consistently and we hope in the third week we are a little bit better again."
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said he was pleased to kick-start the Kiwis' Four Nations defence on a positive note but said his side needed to improve.
"I think we are happy we got off to a start in the sense of a win," he said. "But there were areas in the second half I think we could improve on..
"We saw enough there to build some momentum. To be fair I thought the Welsh side came out and defended really well against us."