Head coach Stuart Lancaster said England were "desperately disappointed" to lose to New Zealand, but insisted his side are right on track to impress in the 2015 World Cup on home soil.
"We were sixth in the world [when he took over], third now, pushing second, where I think we should be," he said.
Assistant coach Andy Farrell added: "I'm gutted but also pleased as punch."
Asked whether his team could win the 2015 World Cup, Lancaster said: "We don't talk in those terms. We talk about belief in building a team.
"It's been about winning here and now but also building the team to win in 2015 and that is our aim.
"We're definitely a better side than last year and better than when we met up four weeks ago. The message now is that we can't allow those standards to slip before we come back in the new year to play France in the Six Nations."
Last year, England inflicted the All Blacks' only defeat in a run which now stretches to 34 matches, but when the world champions raced into the lead with two early tries it looked as though they were set to humiliate the home side.
But England refused to lie down and the power of their pack saw them battle back into the game before New Zealand's superior class out wide ushered them to victory in a pulsating encounter in front of nearly 82,000 fans at Twickenham.
Lancaster continued: "If you went into the England dressing room, we are desperately disappointed to have lost to a team that has been unbeaten all season.
"Being 17-3 down to the All Blacks is not where you want to be but we kept our composure, we kept building our score.
"The scrum went well, our attacking intent and mindset were there and we showed tremendous character and courage defensively.
"Our belief in ourselves and the direction we are going is positive."
Cross-code international Farrell, whose son Owen kicked five penalties and also converted Joe Launchbury's try, said: "Remember, only seven of [Saturday's] team played against the All Blacks last year - we need as much experience playing against the best as we can."
And Lancaster was keen to praise the performances of some of the newer faces in the England line-up.
"The two Billys, for me, were exceptional," said Lancaster. "Vunipola in only his third start at Twickenham shows what a force he is going to be in the rugby world.
"Twelvetrees, after having a disappointing first Test against Australia, had an outstanding game.
"We are on the right path with some great players and we will keep improving."