Albion boss Sami Hyypia has shrugged aside claims by his first day rival that he faces a culture shock in the Championship.
The former Liverpool defender insists he is ready for the challenges of the second tier in England following his spell at Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.
Stuart Gray, manager of today’s Amex opponents Sheffield Wednesday, said the Championship “will surprise” Hyypia “given the intensity and the quality of the opposition and the number of games that are played”.
Hyypia gave Gray’s remarks short shrift ahead of his managerial debut in English football.
The towering Finn told The Argus: “I usually don’t care what anyone says. I know it will be intense. Last season (at Leverkusen) we had a lot of games with the Champions League and everything else.
This is how Liverpool fans said farewell to Sami Hyypia. Albion supporters welcome their new boss at the Amex today
“Most weeks we played two games a week. I know how intense it is, you have no time to have a breather.
“You need to analyse the last game and then you prepare the game after that already. It’s a hectic time.
“For the last two years I have been into these kind of periods.
“I know as well that good results make these periods easier. You don’t have so much stress when things are running well.
“But I’ve gone through the period as well when it is not going well. I think that helps me to also cope with the situation here.”
Hyypia has not paid much attention to what has been going on elsewhere in the Championship among Albion’s 23 rivals.
He said: “We have analysed Sheffield, where we have to be strong defensively and what things we can do offensively to hurt them. But now in the preparation I have concentrated only on what we are doing.
“I couldn’t say which team has bought which players and which team will be strong this season. That doesn’t really interest me, because I think the main thing is we have to concentrate on what we can control and we can control only our own performances.
“We don’t have to look at what other people are doing.
“Obviously we analyse the next opposition but we don’t have to do anything else, just concentrate on the next game and do everything we can to win it.”
Hyypia refuses to set his side any targets beyond focusing match-by-match following the top six finishes achieved by his predecessors Gus Poyet and Oscar Garcia in the last two seasons.
He said: “My ambition is to win every game. I don’t think a lot about where we are in the table.
“The next game is the most important you have and you only concentrate on that.
“I don’t want to put any targets that we have to be in the top six or top two or whatever.
“I want the team to have the kind of mentality that we go into every game with a game plan and try to win every game we play, then somebody will count the points in May and say which position we will end up in.”
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