Sydney promise more of the same, just better, says midfielder Brillante

Sydney midfielder Josh Brillante has crammed a lot into a short career. The 24-year-old has played for two A-League clubs, had a short spell in Italy's Serie A, won an A-League title and been involved in the Socceroos squad, though not in recent years.

As such he knows that nothing can be taken for granted, and good as Sydney were last year - when they only lost once in the league and took the championship - there are no guarantees that they can repeat that performance this season.

No team pushed it closer last year than Melbourne Victory, who they only defeated in a penalty shoot-out in the Grand Final in front of their own fans.

The rematch, at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, kicks the season off with a bang and will give both clubs the chance to make a statement of intent from round one onwards.

"It's exciting, its what you want ... the big games are the ones you want to play in. They are the good ones, you enjoy them," the defensive midfielder says as he contemplates the task ahead of Graham Arnold's men.

"The season is a long time coming and everyone is keen to get this season going. We are very motivated on trying to improve on what we did last year. Arnie just wants us to step up a level in every aspect.

'When you win things the hardest part is to back it up and do it again and be as good if not better than you were. For us in day-to-day training we are making sure we do all the right things.

"Everyone is motivated and ready to improve on last season."

Brillante knows in theory that the absence of Mark Milligan, Kosta Barbarouses and James Troisi from the Victory squad should make things easier, but he is under no illusions that the men who come in will do everything in their power to stake a claim for a first team spot in the absence of those who are away on international duty.

"For us it doesn't matter who is there or not for them. We will play our game and worry about ourselves.

"Players being away is all part of the football world. It's unfortunate for them, but we are only concerned about ourselves."

Last year Sydney built from the back, with a tough defence that strangled opposing forward lines, a solid midfield and sharpshooters up front to score enough goals to win matches.

Nothing much will change.

"It will be similar to last year but we will try to improve. We have a couple of new additions which I think will be great. We have got the Polish player, Adrian Mierzejewski , Paulo Retre [from Melbourne City] and [ex Socceroo] Lukey Wilkshire so the depth is good."

This story Sydney promise more of the same, just better, says midfielder Brillante first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.