Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat wants the A-League to recognised international breaks.
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat wants the A-League to recognised international breaks. TONY MCDONOUGH

A-League needs international breaks recognised

FOOTBALL: Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says more consideration needs to be given to recognising international breaks in the A-League.

With revelations this week that star striker Besart Berisha is set to play for Kosovo, Victory faces a huge drain of its attacking stocks for its March 25 trip to fellow title-chaser Brisbane.

Berisha, attacking midfielder James Troisi (Socceroos) and winger Marco Rojas (New Zealand) all appear likely to be called up for international duty, while Jai Ingham is also an outside chance to receive an All Whites call.

Berisha, 31, had been tied to Albania - which he represented 17 times - but with Kosovo recently recognised by FIFA, the striker has been given dispensation to switch allegiances.

Having previously turned down calls from Albania to instead focus on his A-League career, Muscat said he could not begrudge his player heeding the call if selected.

"The international windows haven't been recognised in the A-League right from the beginning, so there's nothing different from that perspective," Muscat said.

"Are we heading down the path that they should start to be respected? Because it affects not only players that you've currently got but it affects future signings because it limits you to extent.

"That's probably a discussion for another day. At this point in time we'll just wait and see what players we have selected."

Second-placed Victory takes on cellar dweller Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

The Reds have been hit by injury and are also backing up from Wednesday night's 3-0 Asian Champions League loss to Gamba Osaka.

But Muscat said no Victory player should head to the ground tonight just expecting to win.

"It's a trap for fools, isn't it? We're certainly not taking that approach," he said.

"Adelaide were good last week. Yes, they've had a midweek game and they've had some injuries. There's a bit of an unknown about what team they're going to put out.

"But that's why we've really focused on ourselves. From a mindset perspective, we've really got to be switched on."

News Corp Australia


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