In preparation for a season of Big Blue revenge, Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque is looking forward to the FFA Cup rematch against Adelaide United on Wednesday night.
For the Sky Blues skipper it’s a chance to atone for last year’s Cup loss to the Reds before turning his mind to redressing the 2015 Grand Final defeat to Melbourne Victory.
Speaking about the FFA Cup stoush Brosque said: “We would to love win that and go further than what we did last year.
“Obviously we got knocked out by Adelaide United last season – we’re definitely taking that game 100% seriously and we want to win and we’ll be ready to go.”
With the FFA Cup part of A -League pre-season, many clubs are caught in a juggling act of getting the players fit and getting a result. But Brosque was full of praise for the work the coaching staff have done in preparing the team for both.
“All credit to Andrew Clark, (coach) Graham Arnold and the backroom staff,” the 31-year-old said.
“They know what they’re doing and they’re very good at setting out our preseason programme. They’ve built us up to that game and we definitely want to win it.
“It’s is a competitive match and it is different from a trial match. So the more games we can play it’s better for our preseason going into the A-League competition.”
Many players are coy talking about revenge, but Brosque was far from shy when discussing the motivation for the 2015/16 A-League season. Losing the Grand Final to Victory last season remains a sore point.
“For me personally it’s about redemption, it’s about winning it,” he said. “It’s all about getting what we missed out on last year. I think we had the squad to win it.
“If it came back to play Melbourne (Victory) then definitely, it would be about revenge. Nothing would take that feeling away after the Grand Final. It’s a very ugly feeling and anyone that has lost a final will tell you how bad it is.
“I think the fact that we have been able to come in and play those friendly games against Tottenham and Chelsea (afterwards) helped lighten the mood a little bit.
“But, it’s not forgotten, because you can’t. Personally I would never forget a moment like that.”
Sydney FC have lost last season’s starting forward line of A-League Golden Boot Marc Janko, Bernie Ibini and Corey Gameiro, but the Sky Blues captain is enthusiastic about the new blood that has been brought in.
“It’s interesting, all three of them are big losses,” he said. “Bernie Ibini was great for us. Mark Janko scored so many goals. Corey Gameiro even though he got injured, up until then had been great.
“They are big losses and will be hard to replace but it happens everywhere. So we’re pretty excited about the new faces that have come in and they will definitely add something to the squad."
Along with the losses Brosque mentioned, another seven players have left Sydney FC in the offseason. Some of the new blood brought in included Slovakian national team player Filip Holosko, Serbian international Milos Ninkovic and Olyroo Andrew Hoole from the Newcastle Jets. And the Sky Blues captain is enthusiastic that new signings can combine well with current squad.
“We’re just excited about something different this year," he added. "We got to a point last year where by the end of the competition we knew our game inside out. Everyone along that front line in the second half of the season was great.
“It’s always a challenge to do it again with whoever comes in next. We’ve still got Smeltz who has scored so many goals in the A-League, he’s a proven goal scorer.
“But it’s good to start fresh and we have a lot of new faces in the squad this year as well. It is a new team, and it’s about getting the boys gelling together and getting comfortable with each other. We are just focusing on what we have this year.
The Graham Arnold effect permeated right through the club last season and, after a lean period the Sky Blues were back challenging for honours and qualified for Asia. But Brosque says this season brings a different mentality from the previous one.
“Last year was all about getting the club and the team back to where we believe this club should be and I think we definitely did that,” said the 21-capped Socceroo
“Making the grand final and playing the way we did and the style of football which is always important for Sydney and making the Champions League.
“When Arnie first came here 12 months ago it was about rebuilding a club. For him it was a hard job. He had to get the team playing a certain style as well as rebuilding the club itself.
“It was a lot of hard work for him and I think we didn’t see the fruits of that until probably when we came out in the second half of the season.
“This year he already has a standard that he expects from everybody. He’s excited. I think the fact that last year it took a while to get to where he wanted, I think now there are no excuses. There is nothing else, it’s all about hitting the ground running from round one.
“Though it is a different mindset than last year, it just means that we can’t take any shortcuts or cut any corners. Everyone is here to succeed and to go one better than we did last year.”