Q&A with Sydney FC star midfielder Josh Brillante

Tristan Knell Roar Rookie

By , Tristan Knell is a Roar Rookie

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    Ahead of the Sydney derby this week, I was joined on the Talking with TK podcast by Sydney FC’s star midfielder Josh Brillante.

    Both teams paths have changed dramatically since their 2-2 draw in Round four of the competition.

    Be sure to check out the entire interview here.

    Also on the podcast this week we hosted the likes of Socceroos defenders Matt Jurman and Bailey Wright as well as Adelaide United’s Ryan Kitto.

    TK – Your form’s been outstanding, picking up another man of the match in Adelaide and you and Adelaide are getting a bit of rivalry from the past couple of weeks. Tell us a little bit about Friday’s game?

    Josh Brilliante – It was a difficult game, playing Adelaide away from home is always hard. Having played them a week before in the FFA Cup final, it can be difficult having to play the same team so close together, they came out firing and we expected that.

    We were on the back foot defending, sometimes that happens and we defended really well. The last two minutes of the first half we started to string together some passes quite nicely and managed to score a goal before half time which was really great going into the second half.

    TK – Josh, your long balls over the last three weeks have been spot on, have you been working on those a little bit?

    JB – its one thing I’m trying to add to my game, those forward through balls, playing as many forward balls as I can, it’s more of a confidence thing than something I’ve been working on. The confidence just to do it and not miss hit it. It’s paying off lately which has been good.

    TK – Considering Milos Ninkovic was missing, you did really well to pick up the points on the road, you guys were consistent like that last year. What is the formula behind that because sometimes you seem to play as a team not great but you pick up the wins, what is that?

    JB – It’s something we have among the team that winning formula, sometimes we don’t play our game the way we like to normally play, but we still get the result.

    It’s a show of character and the level of depth in the team. Players that come in to fill spots and come off the bench, even at training, we have that attitude to grind through the tough times to get a result.

    TK – Your combination with Brandon O’Neill is one of the strengths in the team. Prior to joining the team did you and Brandon know each other at all?

    JB – Yeah I knew him through the Aussie camps, but so well because he was playing in Perth. But I love playing with him in the middle of the pitch, has that attitude to work hard and never give up. We have a partnership that works really well, so I love it.

    TK – This is your third A-League club and you played at the highest level in Italy. You’ve won three trophies here, so in terms of culture what is it about Sydney FC that has brought so much success?

    JB – I think it’s the enjoyment at the club from a great setup and good people. Being able to have a laugh at training and have that comradery among the players. If you’re happy where you’re living off the pitch it definitely makes a difference.

    You want to work hard and play for each other and we all have each other’s back and you can see that. Last year and even this year the way we have come out, that happiness has made all the difference.

    TK – Have you guys spoken about team goals because you have the Asian Champions League to look forward to?

    JB – We do that every season but we made history and want to do better than that this year.

    We have won all the trophies but we want to do it again. So far we have one piece and we want to get the next couple and the Champions League will be an opportunity and cool experience.

    TK – Next game is the Derby against the Wanderers what’s the lead up looking like for the game, given your schedule are they giving you any rest days?

    JB – No not too much, whether we play a few games or it’s spaced out we have the same structure we always train the same way. It doesn’t matter who we play, we approach it the same way. It will be normal for us and we are deep in our preparation.

    TK – Are you guys on alert considering the Wanderers have been a little wounded over the last couple of weeks and last week embarrassed in front of their home crowd? Are you guys making notes and got those gloves up for something out of the blue from the Wanderers?

    JB – Not particularly, we have our gloves up no matter who we play because everyone wants to beat us. I see it as a good thing, we’re ready no matter who we play.

    TK – Have you noticed an uplift in intensity coming from the opposition this year?

    JB – Yeah for sure, watch a team play the week before then against us and you can see the increase in intensity. It’s a good sign for us because everyone is trying to get us and we can push them back down.

    TK – Josh, it’s going to be a huge crowd on Saturday is there anything you saw in Italy that was similar?

    JB – The derbies over there are the same, same fire, physical and the fans and players love it. For me when I first came back the first derby was at ANZ Stadium in front of 62,000. It was an awesome feeling you will never forget and hopefully there will be another big crowd this weekend.

    TK – When you decided to come home from Italy and chose Sydney FC, what were the key ingredients you were looking for in a club?

    JB – After the second year in Italy, things weren’t going the way I planned. After a certain amount of time if you’re not playing you’re not developing as a player. One of my goals was to keep developing.

    Sydney FC came into the picture and Graham Arnold contacted me and I saw what he had done in the past with teams and players, I saw the recruitment and the style of play it really appealed to me and it’s been a great move.

    TK – Playing at the highest level in Italy from all reports is quite cutthroat. With you, you made one mistake and were pulled off and your time there changed because of that. Can you give us insights into how harsh it can be over there?

    JB – In Italy, it’s a dog eat dog industry. It’s so competitive and people are ready to take your place. It was a strange experience for myself. It wasn’t just that game but a mixture of a lot of things but it made it hard and made me develop as a player and person. I take it as a learning curve and use it in that way.

    TK – Is it a big thing for you to play your best football to be in a comfortable environment?

    JB – Not just myself but most people. If you’re in an environment that’s not comfortable or happy you’re not going to play your best football. If you’re not turning up happy at training it’s going to have an effect. I loved my time in Italy but it was hard.

    TK – Given your added experience now is going back overseas and testing yourself something you want to do?

    JB – For sure, going overseas to live and play is something I want to do. To play in a good league and develop is something in my eyes for my future, where and when we will have to see.

    TK – Who was your Socceroos debut against?

    JB – I think it was against China when Holgar was Coach.

    TK – Did you play under Ange?

    JB – Yeah I think it was two or three games.

    TK – What do you think of the Socceroos group with France, Peru and Denmark who are all highly ranked in the top 15. What do you think of the group?

    JB – The quality is all there. Obviously, you’re going to the World Cup so all teams are quality whoever you draw. Australia has that attitude of working hard and doing what it takes so I think it’s great and if I could be there it would be great.