Chris Coleman has revealed he altered Fulham’s summer training schedule after being concerned about his side’s weak displays last season.

The Fulham boss has drafted in fitness coach Steve Nance, regarded as an innovator in Australian rugby league who tinkered with the Wallabies’ training plans ahead of the 1999 rugby union World Cup and was widely credited as one of the men behind their triumph.

Coleman said: “A lot of the training has been different. There’s more of a rugby theme. We’re doing a lot of physical work, including weight training and boxing. We have to stay in this league, so we have got to have our players fitter than anybody else.

The sessions have been longer and harder. At first the players were going nuts because they didn’t like it. But we took pictures of their bodies and told them to watch for the change in their physique within six weeks. It’s been miraculous. Now they’re enjoying it. This is a lovely little club, down by the Thames. Everybody loves coming to Fulham. We’ve got to make it an unhappy place for teams to come. We didn’t do that last year.”