Speaking to media before the upcoming A-League season, Melbourne Victory marquee Besart Berisha described he is finally happy in Australia thanks to his blossoming relationship with new coach Kevin Muscat.
The former Brisbane Roar striker, renowned for his aggressive on-field tactics, admitted that Muscat is the first person he has “truly connected with” since moving to Australia in 2011.
Berisha recalled, “The first time we met, I could tell from the smug look on his face that we would be perfect for each other.”
Muscat, the former Victory hardman who was known throughout his career for aggressive on-field tactics, has quickly taken a shine to his new marquee, telling media Friday that, “I see a lot of myself in the lad, and I think our minds operate on the same dimension. I can help him unlock his full potential when it comes to tallying both goals and red cards.”
Despite having won multiple Championships while playing for the Roar, Berisha admits that he is already more happy in Melbourne than he was at Brisbane. “We passed the ball around a lot in Brisbane and there was an obsessive focus on teamwork which really did not fit my style of play. Kevin understands that the same mistakes cannot be made here at the [Melbourne] Victory.”
“In Brisbane I was often judged and alienated for just being myself, like when I studded Tando Velaphi in the chest last season, but under Kevin these instincts aren’t just accepted but encouraged. Kevin told me that he used to stud Velaphi in the chest all the time, when they played together for the Victory.”
Berisha concluded, “We may have played different positions but our mentality is the same – we want to win at all costs. That doesn’t always win you a lot of friends, but we both understand the loneliness involved. Finally we have found each other.”
Inside sources have revealed to FMF that Muscat has held private training sessions with Berisha, focusing on how to strategically time suspensions around easier fixtures, or games where the striker would be rested anyway.
“I’ve learnt a lot from Kevin,” Berisha said when asked about these training sessions. “I really believe that if we continue to work together in such harmony, I can outrage more opposition players and fans this season than ever before.”