Hyypiä wants nothing less than 100%

Sami Hyypiä?s competitive debut started promisingly enough
Sami Hyypiä?s competitive debut started promisingly enough

Sami Hyypiä will demand 100% effort in training as he prepares to mastermind a tilt at promotion.

Sami Hyypiä will demand 100% effort in training as he prepares to mastermind a tilt at promotion.

Albion players were yesterday due to start reporting back to the club following the summer break and the Seagulls new manager made it crystal clear he expects nothing but full commitment from his charges.

Speaking on the club’s official website earlier this week, Hyypiä said:  “I can’t wait to start working here and prepare the team for the new season.

“I like to push people to the limit and that’s what we need during the season as well.  We need to push ourselves to the limit and do the best we can in every game.

“I demand 100% quality and concentration in every session we do.”

The former Finland international did, however, reveal his early work with the Albion squad would not all be centered completely on the grueling fitness work traditionally associated with pre-season preparations in England.

“Fitness is very important in football,” he said, “and you need to be able to run for 90 minutes and maybe even a bit more sometimes, but I would like to do most of the exercises with the ball.

“We can have fun in the sessions as well and I like the players to enjoy themselves, but the concentration still has to be there.

“Hopefully in training we can create an atmosphere that the players know they need to work hard for success, but you can have pleasure and fun as well.”

Hyypiä is well-aware of the need to reinforce his currently threadbare Seagulls squad and is keen to see his current players up-close before deciding who to bring in.

He said: “My focus is now on getting to know all our players; their strengths and weaknesses, and how they are as people, so I can handle them better.

“We also need to have a squad that is prepared for injuries. I know the Championship is a tough league and many clubs would like to get promotion, but I’m quite confident that if we get a squad together, then we can be one of the main candidates for promotion to the Premier League."

This will be the first summer that Albion players use the club’s brand-spanking-new training complex in Lancing.

The £30million facility has been eagerly-anticipated by fans and players alike and is indicative of the progress the Seagulls are making off the field.

And just yesterday the club announced it had extended its long-running sponsorship deal with American Express to include the naming rights of the new training ground, which will now be called the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

The financial services giant already sponsors the team’s kit and has naming rights on the Albion’s impressive 30,750-seater stadium in Falmer.

Paul Barber, the club’s chief executive, said: “The club enjoys a hugely successful relationship with American Express and we are delighted that its support has now been extended to include one of the finest football training ground and academy facilities anywhere in the world.”

Nigel Greenwood, vice president of American Express, added: “As the city’s largest private-sector employer, this collaboration further demonstrates our commitment to the success of the communities where we live and work, not only in the short term but for generations to come.”