Steve Hansen believes British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland must have been joking to suggest Super Rugby teams were almost as good as New Zealand.
After his side suffered a 22-16 loss to Blues on Wednesday, Gatland said there would be no huge difference in quality between Super Rugby outfits and the All Blacks.
But that bemused All Blacks coach Hansen, who felt Gatland must have been searching for "a bit of humour" in making the comparison to the world champions.
"I don't think there's any comparison to Super Rugby and Test rugby, but he's probably trying to make a light comment possibly," Hansen said after naming his 33-man squad on Thursday.
"I don't know what his thinking is."
The Lions have made an unconvincing start to their tour, edging the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians before going down to Blues.
Gatland has said his focus is on the Test series, which begins on June 24, as his side look to become just the second Lions team to beat the All Blacks.
Hansen believes the Lions have plenty of improvement in them with another four matches before the series opener.
"I've always said and I still believe it, I think they're the best Lions side to come here," he said.
"I think arriving on the Wednesday and having to play on Saturday is just too tough. We wouldn't do it. You can look at that performance and let it go and last night, you've still got people trying to find out who their mate is beside them.
"They're in the infancy of this tour. They'll only get better and better. They'll be a good side when the Tests come around and it's well-documented that's all they want to win anyway. They just want to win the Test matches. Gatland's made it very, very clear that the first Test is all he's got his eyes on.
"I don't think they're too bothered about what's happening between now and then.
"It'd be foolish of us to think that we can just rock up and expect a soft game because I think we'll get the kitchen sink chucked at us and we need to be ready for that."