Brisbane Roar goal scorer Berisha cops it from all corners
THE criticism towards Roar striker Besart Berisha has come in spades this season.
At times he has lacked the same impact he had in Brisbane's championship-winning 2011/12 campaign, when he finished with 19 goals in the regular season.
Fox Sports commentator Robbie Slater reflected that the 27-year-old had not played well in 2012/13 before Sunday's match against Wellington.
Call his contributions unfashionable, but with the current competition 21 rounds old, the fact is the charismatic Albanian has found the back of the net 12 times.
He scored the decisive goal that put his side ahead 2-0 against the Phoenix on Sunday, putting him equal second on this season's goal scorers' list alongside the Victory's Marco Rojas.
At this stage last season, Berisha had only scored one extra goal, with 13.
Roar coach Mike Mulvey, whose recent signing of Dutch attacker Stefan Nijland was seen by some as a threat to Berisha's immediate future, is certainly one that has been impressed with his striker's output.
"He's scoring goals. He scored a goal (against Wellington)," he said.
For all his ability, Mulvey also credited Berisha for his toughness against the Phoenix.
"He got a whack in the first half and he was a little bit tender at half-time, but he managed to soldier on," he said.
"And he got us that really important second goal. It gave us a little bit of breathing space."
In Berisha's defence, the Roar's service to him from the midfield hasn't been as slick as it was last season, when they played some delightful attacking football under former mentor Ange Postecoglou.
But with 2011/12 Johnny Warren Medal winner Thomas Broich beginning to find some impressive form as the stand-in captain, Mulvey believes his team is showing gradual improvements in the way it is using the ball.
This will only help Berisha in his efforts to score more goals, with his seventh-placed team facing an uphill battle to make the finals, and only six rounds left.
"Our plan in the second half (against Wellington) was to try and keep possession and get the second goal," Mulvey said.
"He helped us very early on in getting that so I was very pleased with him."