Sami Hyypia eyeing Premier League return

Former Liverpool defender wants to return as a manager

Sami Hyypia spent 10 years as a player in the Premier League and is now itching to get back there as a manager.

The former Liverpool defender has signed a three-year contract to take over at Brighton following Oscar Garcia's departure at the end of last season.

The Seagulls have reached the Championship play-offs in each of the last two campaigns, but both times tumbled out in the semi-finals.

So they have turned to 40-year-old Hyypia, a Champions League winner during a successful decade at Anfield, to ensure they do not fall short again.

"The ambition of the club attracted me," said the Finn. "Hopefully I can take the club forward in the next three years.

"I'm always confident. Confidence is no bad thing but we need to be realistic. The club has had a few good campaigns in the last few years but my job is to make it better.

"Hopefully the progress will continue and I will be a happy man if I can take the club forward.

"I have heard only good things about the club. I rang people who know the club and they said only positive things. Everything is perfect - now we have to make it perfect on the field."

Hyypia cut his managerial teeth in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen, the club where he finished his illustrious playing career three years ago.

He was sacked in April following a run of one win in 12 matches, but insists the experience will stand him in good stead for life in the Championship with the Seagulls.

"It's great to be back in England, where I spent most of playing career," he added.

"My opportunity was unusual in that 10 months after I stopped playing I was managing a Bundesliga club.

"That was a good school for me. In practice you learn more than when you are at school and I have learned a lot. Hopefully I can bring those things to this club."

Following their convincing play-off defeat by Derby, Brighton chairman Tony Bloom found himself searching for a new manager for the third summer running.

But despite turning to a relative rookie in Hyypia, Bloom believes he has unearthed a potential gem.

"When we went through the process we were very open-minded," he said.

"We were just looking for the best manager and, regardless of age, we think we have him."

PA

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