Victory primed for Atletico test


Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha believes his side will continue on its steep pre-season learning curve when it comes up against another of Europe’s finest teams on Sunday.

Victory will take on UEFA Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid at Simonds Stadium in Geelong, a week after playing against Italian champions Juventus at the MCG.

“We really love to play against these teams. You learn a lot,” Berisha said.

“They are playing in the highest level of football. For us, every game we play is an opportunity to learn and get better.

“Every game is important for us. We’re really focussed this pre-season about being competitive and getting better.

“These games against Juventus and Atletico Madrid will help as a lot. It’s great preparation.”

Berisha, a fan of Spanish football, has watched Atletico establish itself as one of Europe’s most accomplished club sides.

But the Victory forward said his team would not be overawed by its opponent and will concentrate on what it knows best.

“Atletico Madrid is one of the hardest working football teams I’ve personally ever seen. I watch La Liga very closely and they’re a very strong side,” he said.

“It’s going to be very difficult. We’re prepared. We’re going to try 100 per cent, but it’s not going to be that easy.

“We’ll play our way. We will not really change much. We’ll try to play our game style. 

“Atletico plays a different formation to Juventus so we’re going to work different tactically, but we will try to play and try to win the game.”

Fernando Torres is one of Atletico’s most recognisable players, and the Spanish international said he was expecting a tough contest from Victory on Sunday.

“We saw the draw they did against Juventus. For them, it’s quite a big game. It will be a nice test for us,” he said.

“They take it very seriously and we have to approach the game the same way. We want to get a good result.”

Tickets for Victory’s match against Atletico are available here.

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