Berisha’s individual success is irrelevant

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Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has praised Besart Berisha’s self-belief after the striker helped his side to a 2-1 derby win over Melbourne City on the weekend.

The Victory striker broke City hearts with 12 minutes remaining after he scored the match winner thanks to a Marco Rojas assist, and while Muscat is happy for Berisha he is understandably more focused on the silverware.

Berisha has now scored nine goals this season and leads the Hyundai A-League golden boot, two ahead of Bruno Fornaroli and Andy Keogh.

But Muscat conceded in the post-match interview that Berisha was unhappy with his first half, resulting in the Albanian “smashing” objects in the change rooms at halftime.

“I didn’t see any of it … but if he did smash anything he’d be replacing it himself, I can guarantee that,” Muscat joked.

“I was speaking to him and I asked him to maintain his composure and get in goal scoring positions and he said ‘I’ll score in the second half’.”

And score he did.

After kicking the match winner, Berisha leveled Archie Thompson’s all-time leading scoring record in the A-League (90 goals).

Muscat however, was not bothered about Berisha’s feat.

“It doesn’t really excite me … I’m really happy for Bes, he’s been remarkable for me and this football club since he joined us,” he said.

“If you offer him 20 goals tomorrow or a championship, I know what he’d take, so whether he gets the goals or he sets them up for someone else, it’s irrelevant.

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“It’s a nice individual award, but the only awards we’re interested in are the ones we get to share collectively.”

Victory deserved the three points but Muscat’s men could have won by more.

“If we could be critical … we were disappointed that we came in at halftime at 1-1,” he said.

“The amount of pressure we put them under, the amount of good opportunities [and] good chances that we created … the first 45 minutes was outstanding.”

However the Victory coach refrained from reflecting on the match’s statistics and admitted they can be misleading.

“Stats tell you one side of the story. Stats are for the lazy,” Muscat said.

“The first half of the game suggested we could’ve been two or three (goals) up [and] from that perspective, that can be the only disappointing thing, but overall what a great night for us.

“Our fans get to celebrate Christmas with a big smile on their faces.”

Melbourne Derbies are always passionate contests and Muscat was sure to thank the 24,706 strong crowd at AAMI Park.

“It’s a special occasion, it’s a special night,” he confessed.

“When you win these games, the emotion does override quite a bit.

“A majority of that is a reflection of the energy in the stands.

“To look up tonight and see two thirds of the stadium full of navy blue, I wouldn’t be surprised if Santa was wearing blue in a few days time.”

The 2-1 win sees Victory overtake City on the Hyundai A-League table, who now sit in second position with a game in hand.

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Adrian Johnsonhttps://thefootballsack.com.au
A-Grade football fan, C-grade player

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