Berisha pumped for Atletico challenge

Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha says the A-League outfit will not be altering their game plan for Sunday’s pre-season friendly against Atletico Madrid.

It has been a full-on fortnight for Victory with the International Champions Cup win over Juventus and now a clash with the La Liga giants in Geelong, followed by the Round of 32 match FFA Cup match against Newcastle Jets on Wednesday night.

Coach Kevin Muscat made it clear three games in the space of 11 days so early in preseason was far from ideal but Berisha is relishing the opportunity to get more minutes in their legs.

“It’ll help us fitness wise,” Berisha said.

“Playing against big teams like Atletico and Juventus will help us also to maintain good quality football and be prepared 100 per cent against Newcastle.

“We play our way, we won’t change much. We will try our game style against Atletico who played a different formation to Juventus.

“The way we play will not change, we will try to win the game. It doesn’t make sense (to change) because we want to focus and play this season and you have to try in every game and against every team to try to play.”

Berisha also wasn’t buying into the idea they were going to play it safe against the UEFA Champions League runners-up in light of a strenuous schedule.

“Both games are very important for us, every game for us is important,” he said. “We’re really focused this pre-season, we really want to be competitive and we want to get better.

“This game will help us a lot (and) we’ll have a lot for Wednesday too. It’s a great preparation.

“Atletico is one of the hardest playing and working football teams I’ve personally ever seen.  It’s going to be very difficult, but we are prepared and we’ll go there and try give 100 per cent.

“I’ve watched La Liga very closely, they’re a very strong side, believe me and it’s hard and we’re going go there and try our best. We want to win too.”

Berisha also spoke of newcomer Mitch Austin, who made his debut last week against Juventus. The winger was supplying the Albanian efficiently during the game and picked up the Man of the Match award.

“(As) a striker, you know you’re smiling when you have players like Mitch,” he said. “He’s an explosive fast player and he’s adapted very well in the team.

“I work with him very closely in training too and try work with him together, he’s great.”