Stuart McCall says watching Euro 2008 has reinforced his belief that fitness is more paramount than ever in modern-day football.

The City boss reckons his players need look no further than Dutch star Giovanni van Bronckhorst for inspiration ahead of their return to pre-season training.

"The Holland v Italy match was the one game I definitely wanted to watch during the tournament and I really enjoyed it," he said.

"But the main aspect it pressed on me was just how important fitness levels really are. Van Bronckhorst cleared off his own line one second and then the next was in the opposition box setting up a goal.

"It was an amazing passage but it's no surprise looking at the top sides that they seem to be fitter both physically and mentally and that's why they are where they are.

"The energy of the Dutch was wonderful and that's what we want out of our players.

"People may say we've got people like Joe Colbeck and Omar Daley who can break away like that but they need to be able to do it in the last ten minutes as well as the first. Van Brockenhurst just kept going.

"Stats show it's the five minutes prior to half-time and ten minutes before the end that most goals are scored and, interestingly, the same goes for injuries being suffered. It all points towards fitness.

"It's something I've been discussing with Steve Bollen, from Yorkshire Clinic, who might be involved with us in some new things next season."

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