He fell short in the race for the Golden Boot but Besart Berisha is focused on creating “something special” in the Finals Series with Western United FC.
United’s final hit-out before the club’s first-ever Hyundai A-League finals match this weekend ended in a 3-1 defeat to Melbourne City on Wednesday night.
With their finals berth already assured, United boss Mark Rudan fielded an under-strength side, with both Berisha and skipper Alessandro Diamanti starting on the bench.
The pair played the final 30 minutes with Berisha scoring United’s only goal, his 19th of another prolific campaign for the veteran striker.
But it’s in the Finals Series where Berisha often produces his best, with four Hyundai A-League Championships to his name with both Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory.
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And the 35-year-old is already eyeing another title assault ahead of United’s Elimination Final against Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
“I love finals. I’m very excited...when I hear finals my heart is beating,” Berisha told Fox Sports.
“I want to play every game and I’m looking forward to the finals.
“They are special. I missed them in my one year away and I’m so happy to be back and to go to the finals.”
Asked about the magnitude of United’s achievement of finishing fifth in their debut campaign, Berisha said: “What a story it is.
“I think we’ve had an unbelievable season. It’s credit to the staff, the club, the players.
“They’ve tried so hard to be a professional club and as a player I’m very proud to be here and to share this story.
“Hopefully we can keep pushing and make something special.”
Berisha also paid tribute to “amazing” Melbourne City striker Jamie Maclaren, whose second-half double not only iced the result but also secured the Golden Boot.
Maclaren’s brace took his tally to the campaign to 22 goals – his best-ever Hyundai A-League return – to finish ahead of Sydney FC’s Adam Le Fondre (20) and Berisha (19).
“It’s a nice feeling to win my second Golden Boot. Bes and Le Fondre are fantastic strikers and they are guys I look up to,” the Socceroos striker said.
“I wanted to win that [the Golden Boot] but it’s just great to finish with three points to end the regular season.
“It’s hard work that I’ve put in, the belief from my coaches and obviously the hard work from my teammates around me that helped me get it.”
City ended the campaign with their best-ever points tally of 47 to finish second and move straight through to next Wednesday’s Semi Final at Bankwest Stadium.