Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has heaped praise on Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha on the eve of the two sides' blockbuster in Sydney.
The Sky Blues take on Melbourne Victory on Saturday night in a massive clash between two unbeaten sides in the Hyundai A-League at Allianz Stadium.
Victory possess a wealth of attacking talent, headline by hit-man Besart Berisha who has hit the back of the net five times already this season.
Berisha also loves playing against Sydney, scoring in four of his last five matches against them during his time at Brisbane Roar.
Arnold is a huge fan of the Victory star and believes his side need to take his win-at-all-costs mentality into Saturday’s match if they are to keep their unbeaten start to the season going.
“I love the guy and his energy. I have a huge amount of respect for what he has done in this country,” Arnold said of the Albanian striker.
“Every time you watch him play he drives the intensity and we have to play on Saturday with Berisha’s intensity for 90 minutes Because he sets their standard and brings the rest of the players with him.
“We have to put in a very good performance. He’s lethal, we have to keep an eye on him and have to try and cut off the supply to him.
“It’s been shown in the past if you can cut off the supply then he gets frustrated so that’s the plan.”
The two sides have been involved in some epic battles over the first nine seasons of the Hyundai A-League, with another thrilling chapter set to be written this weekend.
Both sides will be a little weakened due to international duty and injury but Arnold has no doubt the clash between two of the Hyundai A-League’s biggest club’s will live up to the hype.
“Until Western Sydney came along this was the biggest game (in the A-League),” Arnold said.
“It’s always been in the past wonderful occasions and great games and I’m sure the fans will get a very exciting game on Saturday night.
“It’s a big game for both of us, we both haven’t lost yet. Kevin Muscat is doing a fantastic job there, he’s recruited a fantastic squad.
“I can only urge all Sydney FC fans to get behind us because it’s going to be a tough challenge.”
Sydney’s defensive solidarity has been a highlight of the side’s start to the campaign, and they are aiming for their fourth consecutive clean sheet on Saturday, the first time they have done that since 2010.
“Its common knowledge I’m a coach that bases thing on defence first and then we build the attack and we are doing that,” Arnold said.
“Conceding only three goals in the first five games is fantastic.
“The desperation we showed in the game against Adelaide, the boys were disappointed because they know it wasn’t one of our better performances
“But at the same time the character and the fight, you can see the mateship within the boys. They are prepared to fight for each other."