Melbourne City’s classy defender Bart Schenkeveld has vowed to let his boots do the talking when he marks Victory striker Besart Berisha in Saturday night’s Melbourne Derby.
Speaking on the eve of Saturday’s big game, the Dutchman gave www.a-league.com.au an insight into what it’s like to face Berisha and how the A-League goals scoring legend attempts to put off defenders he faces.
The pair came face to face in this season’s first derby – won 2-1 by City in October at Etihad Stadium in Schenkeveld’s first Melbourne Derby – and the 26-year-old vows he won’t be dragged into Berisha’s mind games on Saturday night at AAMI Park.
For the classy defender, it will be all about inflicting more derby pain on Victory this season.
“We won the first derby. It was only a really nice experience. Big stadium. It was nice and I like the pressure.
“It’s why you play football. Then you win and you’re proud of the team for all the people and fans of the club.
“I play against now [Berisha] he wants to put me out of my concentration. I think I have to let my feet do the talking. Ignore it.
“It frustrates him the most when I play my game and I say nothing to him.
“Because he wants interactions, he wants me to say something back. He speaks English so I can understand a little bit what he says.
“Not only with words but with a small kick or a smile.
“I win my one-on-one battles this is the most important," said the former Feyenoord player.
Berisha has signed a contract extension this week with Victory as many on social media posing the question 'is he the greatest ever player to have played in the league?"
Schenkeveld agreed Berisha is a major player, but he doesn't fear him.
“Yeah, I have respect for everybody. It’s good for him, he did a good job to make history for himself [by scoring 100 goals in the league]. I have to respect that.
“But I’m never afraid of somebody.
"Bes is the best but I’m looking forward to playing against him.”