Steve Hansen admitted New Zealand's performance in the 25-16 win over Samoa was not to their usual standards.
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen believes his side still have plenty of room for improvement following their battling 25-16 win over Samoa on Wednesday.
The All Blacks surged to a 22-9 lead with 20 minutes to go in Apia before Alafoti Faosiliva crossed for Samoa to cut the gap to six points.
But a sixth penalty of the game from Dan Carter - who also set up George Moala for the visitors' only try - six minutes from time secured victory for the world champions.
Hansen's men now face Argentina in the opening game of the Rugby Championship in Christchurch a week on Friday.
"Whilst we probably didn't play the way we wanted to, we were a bit scratchy, playing in that heat some of the guys have mentioned it was the toughest conditions they've played in," Hansen said.
"To be able to hang in there and show the spirit against a team that were playing so well was good. Clearly, we've got a lot to work on between now and Argentina but that's fine. We're looking forward to doing that.
"If you asked for the perfect game to take you into the Rugby Championship this is it. They put under a lot of pressure.
"Yes it was bloody tough but test matches are meant to be. We weren't perfect but we've got a foundation to tidy up."
Meanwhile, Samoa five-eighth Tusi Pisi said: "To come so close to the number one team in the world - it just comes down to crucial little errors and the swing of momentum, but the effort was outstanding.
"We talked about putting pressure on them defensively and at times we had them rattled. It was just execution that let us down. The belief was there from the start. We prepared to win. We were disappointed to come away with a loss."