United have a score to settle with City

Star Western United striker Besart Berisha says if there’s ever a perfect time to end his team’s poor record against Melbourne City, it’s on Thursday night when Victoria’s best A-League club chases a seventh successive win.

City are in superb form heading into the derby at AAMI Park. Their 4-1 thrashing of Western Sydney Wanderers last Friday night extended the club’s record-breaking winning streak to six matches.

It’s a run that has brought them to within two points of A-League ladder leaders Central Coast Mariners, who have played two more than games than City.

In contrast, United are in 10th spot on the table and have lost three of their past four matches.

They have also struggled since against City since joining the competition last season, having lost all five of their matches against their cross-city rivals.

But enough is enough for the fiercely competitive Berisha, who said beating City in their current form would be the ideal way for United to finally get the better of last season’s beaten grand finalists.

Melbourne City’s Craig Noone (left) and Western United’s Besart Berisha are ready for Thursday night’s derby at AAMI Park. Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“These are the games every football player wants to play, where a team has this great momentum,” the best striker in A-League history said.

“We want to play against those teams, and we are ready.”

Berisha did not believe United had a City “hoodoo” hanging over their heads.

“Melbourne City did really well every time we’ve played against them and they played great football – that’s all it was,” he said.

“To win against Melbourne City you have to play your best football and we didn’t do that in the previous games.”

In-form City winger Craig Noone, who scored a brace against the Wanderers, promised his side would not take a complacent attitude into the derby.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas and relax,” Noone said.

City’s winning run has been inspired by 20 goals, including six against cellar dwellers Melbourne Victory.

“We’re not going to get carried away with the amount of goals we’re scoring,” Noone said.

“We keep saying it, but we keep getting it drilled into us as well, that we don’t relax when we go a goal up.”

Despite City’s red-hot form, Noone said his side had adopted a “game by game” rather than be concerned what might happen at the business end of the season.

“We’ve been on a good run now but we can’t stop. We need to keep going and keep being as best as we can,” he said.

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