After Adelaide United’s dramatic Premiership and Championship double last season, Bruce Djite has said it’s caused there to be a different feel amongst the Reds, who began pre-season for 2016/17 on Monday.
What the Reds accomplished in 2015/16 was by no means an easy task, especially after the way Guillermo Amor’s men started their campaign.
And according to striker, Bruce Djite, the spectacular end to what was an incredibly turbulent last campaign has left a lasting impression on the No. 11 and his teammates.
Djite claims there was a notable difference in the atmosphere and energy surrounding United’s change rooms on the Reds’ first official session of pre-season, which he attributes to the expectation of going back-to-back.
“Coming into training today and there’s a bit of a different feel around the team,” Djite said. “The expectation to do well again this season is there and we have to try and replicate what we did last season.
“It’ll be no easy feat and I don’t think many teams have gone back-to-back, but it’s a great challenge for us to have going into the new season.”
Lamenting the three-month long wait until the Hyundai A-League kicks-off again, Djite mentioned the importance in acknowledging the marathon-like nature of the competition, embracing the challenge that comes with it.
“It’s obvious that the season is a long way away, but we’ve go the FFA Cup that will start a little bit earlier than the season which we have to look forward to.
“But it’s a marathon and there’s a long road ahead, so we’ll take it step by step because it gives the more experienced boys like myself the time to ease back into things rather than hitting the park full gas, so there’s positives and negatives.
“But it is hard to see the start of the season when it’s so far away.”
Djite also believes amongst the variety of challenges facing the Reds, the most prominent of all will be having to deal with other teams wanting to take the scalp of the reigning Champions, a completely new concept to United.
“It’s different being the hunted than the hunter,” he continued.
“Every game we play next season, teams are going to motivate themselves in coming up against the defending Champions and that will make the games tougher for us.
“It’s hard to get to the top, but once you’re there it’s much harder to stay there.
“What we did last season is something I think we’ll enjoy more at the end of our career because during your career you can’t dwell on it so much.
“You can’t dwell on the positives for too long and you can’t dwell on the negatives for too long. You really have to find a balance because, if you don’t, you’ll take your eye off the ball.
“If we don’t do well this season, no one’s going to care that we won last season."