Leverkusen - Bayer 04 Leverkusen head coach Sami Hyypiä wasn't perhaps as chipper as you'd expect following his side's 2-0 win over Hannover 96.
Speaking after the game, the Finn highlighted the need for improvement, before casting an eye over a busy week ahead.
Question: Mr. Hyypiä, Bayer 04 were comfortable 2-0 victors over Hannover 96. Were you able to enjoy your team’s performance?
Sami Hyypiä: It wasn’t like that against Hannover. We weren't at our best. The game was nothing special. There weren’t many chances. That’s why I didn’t feel all that great during the game. Of course, I’m happy we picked up three points and scored two goals, but we have to do better in the final third. We defended well. We didn’t give away many chances, so that was great.
Question: What were the negatives in the game?
Hyypiä: We tried to play the decisive ball too early. We have to be more patient in order to make our chances count and do a better job of keeping hold of the ball. That way we won’t have to do as much defending and chasing back. We lost too many easy balls.
Question: At the moment, all the players seem to be really on their game no matter what the opposition. How important is it for a coach to have a squad that’s not just ready to play but also in form?
Hyypiä: Of course it’s really important. Robbie Kruse’s performance against Mainz 05 is a good example of that. He took his chances and made a good case to start more games. It’s important the players know where they’re at. They can show what they’re able to do and have the posiiblity to seize their moment.
Question: Another player is Roberto Hilbert, who’s started the last three games. What did you make of his performance?
Hyypiä: He played well and also did a really good job against Mainz last week. Giulio Donati didn’t do a bad job in that position against Bielefeld either. I still don’t know who will start against Real Sociedad. We’ll see who best suits the opposition.
Question: With a goal and assist, it was another standout performance from Sidney Sam against Hannover. What do you make of his development?
Hyypiä: He’s done really well so far. It perhaps wasn’t his best day against Mainz last week, but I can understand that. You can’t be at your best all the time, but he scored another nice goal against Hannover. It’s good for us if he can continue like that.
Question: What do you make of Bayer’s position after victory over fourth-place Hannover 96?
Hyypiä: The progress is positive. We spoke a lot about the mental side of things last season. We’re now further on than we were last season. We’re strong. Sometimes it can be difficult, but we have the mental strength to push on along our own path. I don’t accept giving up. If you can concentrate for 90 minutes, that’s good. In that respect, we’ve improved, but we still have much more to do to get better.
Question: How dangerous will it be to face Bayern München next Saturday after Wednesday‘s Champions League game against Real Sociedad?
Hyypiä: The next game is the most important. We play Real first. It’s not a problem.
Question: Is it essential to win on Wednesday against a team that’s a relative unknown quantity in Germany?
Hyypiä: Spanish teams are always very strong technically and play attractive football. That won’t be any different against Real Sociedad. Of course we’re at home and want to win. Otherwise we won’t go any further.
Question: Will you be rotating again?
Hyypiä: I still don’t know. I’ll have to sleep on that for a couple of nights. Then we’ll see.
Interview by Tobias Gonscherowski