Captain Chris Robshaw is targeting victory in the Six Nations after coming so close to overseeing another England win over New Zealand on Saturday.
England, especially up front, made the All Blacks look vulnerable for long spells at Twickenham, but from a leading position going into the final quarter, they eventually fell 30-22.
That put New Zealand in position to end 2013 with a 100% record, but despite their form, Robshaw says any England defeat should be seen as unacceptable and something to be built on.
"We're pretty close to where we want to be, but we're not quite there," Robshaw said.
"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.
"We are improving game by game, week by week and tournament by tournament and we must make sure we continue that.
"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. That's the aim.
"We had a pretty good campaign last season but unfortunately fell short at the final hurdle. The good teams don't fall short, they take their opportunities.
"The All Blacks didn't lose a game in the Rugby Championship. They are the benchmark, but we want to be better.
"We took the lead and not many teams get into that position against New Zealand with around 20 minutes to go. It shows how clinical they are and why they're the best side in the world.
"If they get a sniff they create an opportunity and take it. Once New Zealand get in behind you they get excited and sense blood.
"But our belief was outstanding. The endeavour was there to fight back from the position we were in. The crowd were fantastic in getting us going. Every England player gave it their all. We were out on our feet at times, but we stood up and fought for 80 minutes."