Manchester City captain Richard Dunne admits the club's pre-season training camp in Germany has been tough, as Mark Hughes gears up his players for his first campaign as manager.
City travel to the Faroe Islands to face EB/Streymur in their season-opening Uefa Cup qualifier on July 19 after spending 10 days in Bavaria, where Hughes had honed the fitness of his Blackburn squad in previous years.
"It's been really good and I think everyone's enjoyed it," said Dunne, who ended speculation of a possible move to Portsmouth or Tottenham by signing a new four-year contract last week.
"What we've done, rather than the usual pre-season running, has been a lot of football-based fitness.
"It's probably harder than just running, but it's much more enjoyable and with us having the Uefa Cup in the next two weeks, it's important that we get our football fitness in early and get a feel for the football."
Assistant manager Mark Bowen, who followed Hughes from Blackburn last month, said the training regime should give City a competitive advantage over the opposition in the forthcoming season.
"We have come here to work hard, very hard," Bowen told City's official website.
"The manager's philosophy is that you have to be able to run in order to win football matches in the Premier League. All the skill in the world is no use to you if you cannot match the opposition for pace and movement.
"We took great pride in the fact that the statistics showed that there was no fitter team in the Premier League than Blackburn and we aim to make sure that is the case with City."