Warren Gatland's attack is firing at long last but the British and Irish Lions coach knows his side will have to improve again for the first test on Saturday.

The passing was far better from the tourists in their big victory over the Chiefs here, and they even got the occasional offload away. There was an appreciation of space, and even footwork from some individuals, and Jack Nowell's breakout try in the second half was a beauty.

That side of the game, combined with the Lions' defence, will leave Gatland satisfied but he knows the challenge facing his team at Eden Park.

"That's something we've been working on," Gatland said of his team's attack. "It takes a bit of time. We've put a new team together, there are combinations of guys getting used to each other's voices. We knew we were creating tries we just haven't been finishing them off.

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"From a defensive point of view we're getting stronger and stronger in that area against the best attacking teams in world rugby. We score multiple tries week in and week out and we're strangling them a little bit in the way that we're defending too.

Video slideshow of photographs from last night's match between The British & Irish Lions and the Chiefs at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton.

"On Saturday we're up against the best team in the world in their own backyard, a place they haven't been beaten at since 1994, so we have to take things up a level."

After making a point of complaining about the New Zealand teams' apparent liking for blocking opposition players off the ball, Gatland didn't want to say too much about the penalty awarded to his side for the obstruction by second-five Johnny Fa'auli.

"The referees have identified that... it's been frustrating for us," Gatland said. "We haven't come out and bitched and moaned about it. The referees came back to me and said that [Waisake] Naholo's try [for] the Highlanders should have been awarded because there was blocking. We haven't complained about it.

"The referees have identified it and they got one tonight. Hopefully that gets stamped out of the game."

Chiefs skipper Stephen Donald said a few calls could have gone his team's way early in the second half as they threw everything at the visitors in an attempt to overturn a 6-13 deficit. But he had few complaints, saying the scoreboard told the story and the Lions were a "bloody good team".

"She was a bit of an arm wrestle early and when we got behind early we started to push things and when you do that things can get away on you," Donald said.

Coach Dave Rennie acknowledged the Lions had improved throughout the tour and the test series might be closer than some think.

"When they settle on combinations and so on it will be an exciting series," Rennie said.

Asked about the Lions' expertise in the set piece, Rennie said: "They're going to come up against a pretty good set piece in the All Blacks so they're going to have to earn it and fight for it."