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Penalties costing Lions - Gatland

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Lynn McConnell     08 Jun 2017     Getty Images

"We need to tighten up giving away penalties which are soft or needless. There were times when we had changed the momentum of the game and then conceded penalties," he said.

There were also concerns with what Gatland called 'miscommunications' in lineouts and penalties in lineouts, but they were areas that could be improved.

The game had been a step up from the performance in the opening game against the NZ Provincial Barbarians.

"It was a big step up in performance from Saturday night and we competed with a side that has a very good record at Eden Park," he said.

But the try to Sonny Bill Williams on half-time had been disappointing.

However, he took nothing away from the try scored by replacement first five-eighths Ihaia West because the off-loading of New Zealand teams was a characteristic.

"It was a moment of magic which you do get from New Zealand teams. But we learnt a lot from tonight," he said.

"We've played a lot better tonight and put ourselves into position to win the game. We can take positives from that and you can take a lot of things in your control that you can change and improve.

"Saturday is going to be another tough encounter but we expect so see an improvement."

Looking ahead to the Test matches, Gatland said there was so much strength in New Zealand rugby at the moment that he didn't think there was much difference between the Super Rugby sides and the All Blacks.

"Both teams cancelled each other out in terms of defence," he said.

However, Gatland was disappointed with the inability to cope with the Blues' off-loading.

"We've got to be a little bit better at stopping the off-loading game. Generally I thought we did that very well, our line speed defensive, we coped with that. It's a moment of magic which you do get from New Zealand teams. I'm happy there was an improvement, disappointed we lost the game obviously," he said.