Victorious New Zealand Maori captain Jono Gibbes believes the Lions should not be written off ahead of the series with the All Blacks.
Gibbes led from the front as his side claimed their first victory over the Lions with a dogged 19-13 win.
Although the Lions have not yet hit top gear, Gibbes believes they will improve in time for the Tests.
"They're still adjusting to the way New Zealand plays and they'll only get better really," said Gibbes.
"They made us work for the whole 80 minutes."
Despite the Lions fielding a heavy pack, they were no match for an intense Maori side that prevented the tourists from playing by controlling the tackle area.
In the other games so far, the Lions recovered from a poor first half to record comfortable wins, but it was not to be in Hamilton as a second-half rally came too little too late.
"I just felt at half-time the message was that two New Zealand sides had given the Lions a good run for 40 minutes and hadn't backed up the second 40," Gibbes added.
"I told them if we could go another 40 then we were going to be there at the end. That proved to be the case and guts got us home in the end a little bit.
"I don't think against a team like the Lions you're going to pull off one magical play and score.
"It was just relentless pressure and we ground them down field and came back with three points."
The impressive Carlos Spencer, who made an immediate impact after coming on in the second half, was delighted that his final appearance for the Maori ended in victory.
The 29-year-old fly-half is coming to Britain over the summer after signing a three-year deal with Northampton and marked his final game with a sparkling performance.
"I have had a few career highlights and this is right up there," said Spencer.
"Obviously being my last game in the country it's a great feeling for me and great note to leave on.
"It was a huge game and a huge victory for the Maori people - there are some emotional guys in the changing room right now."
It was also an emotional occasion for coach Matt Te Pou, who is leaving the post after 10 years in charge.
"I've had an enjoyable and rewarding time with this team and it's an honour to retire as a national team coach against the world's best," he said.
"This team has been part of my life for a long time and there is no doubt that I will take some special memories from my time with them."