Berisha: Next step, conquer Asia

Besart Berisha has backed Melbourne Victory to challenge for the Hyundai A-League, Westfield FFA Cup and AFC Champions League in the coming season, despite losing captain Mark Milligan.

Victory captured the A-League double of premiership and championship during Berisha's first campaign at the club last term.

They exited the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup in an extra-time quarter-final loss away to Perth Glory, having lost their international marquee striker to a groin injury in the first half at nib Stadium.

Prior to the Albanian striker's arrival from Brisbane Roar, Victory narrowly failed to progress from their group in the 2014 AFC Champions League. 

Although they upset then-holders Guangzhou Evergrande in a memorable 2-0 win at Etihad Stadium, Kevin Muscat's men had to watch from afar as Western Sydney Wanderers went on to capture the regional crown in fairytale fashion.

Now though Berisha feels the men in navy blue and white have what it takes to push Asia's best teams all the way.

"We are the biggest the club in Australia," he told Goal Australia.

"You want to try to also be (the same) in Asia. It is not easy. But if this is what it takes to win the Champions League, you have to ... try to win it.

“We are really looking forward to the Champions League. We want to be competitive, we have great players. We need to take this step and try to win it, because this is what it takes to become the best in Asia."

As for the FFA Cup, Victory's fierce rivals Adelaide became the first club to lift the new national knockout competition when they saw off Perth in the final at Coopers Stadium in December.

A trip to take on New South Wales State League 1 outfit Balmain Tigers represents the first hurdle this time around for Muscat's men.

"Definitely with the FFA Cup, we have been very close," Berisha said.

"This year we will try to get better. We have the team. (But) The A-League is, for us, the first priority. We want to continue being great in Australia, number one in Australia."

If Victory are to fulfil Berisha's ambitious target of claiming every piece of silverware on offer, they must do so without a key man in Milligan.

The Australia international midfielder, the club's successor to Archie Thompson as domestic marquee player, left last month to join Baniyas of the United Arab Emirates.

"Milligan is an unbelievable captain, an unbelievable player, not just for us but also the Australia national team," Berisha said

"We respect his decision and now we need to try to cover him, to bring somebody in. We have great players. We have great young players who wait for this opportunity in his position. Now they are ready and they want to take it. They want to be the next Milligan. This is great and I believe they can do it."