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Hodgson hails spot-kick king Milivojevic

6th April 2019, 20:26 by Craig Smithson

Skipper Luka Milivojevic's mental strength was hailed by Roy Hodgson after his penalty handed Crystal Palace a vital win at Newcastle.

The nerveless Serbian midfielder beat Martin Dubravka from 12 yards with nine minutes remaining, after Wilfried Zaha had been tripped by DeAndre Yedlin, to clinch a 1-0 win which eased the Eagles to 39 points.

Asked if Milivojevic, who has missed only one of his 11 penalties so far during the current campaign, is as good as any he was worked with, Hodgson replied: "Yes, absolutely, yes.

"Penalties are technique and mental strength and composure. There are those who might say mental strength and composure are in the same ball park, but certainly you need the technique, but then you also need that mental strength and that ability to compose yourself.

"When the penalty was awarded - and I don't really think anybody who watched the game had any serious doubts that it was a penalty - but still, 49,000 people are screaming and booing and doing their very best to put you off, and also what's going through your head is, 'If I score this, we go 1-0 up with only maybe 10 or 12 minutes left to play, there's a great chance we'll go home tonight with three points and that will take us to 39, which is pretty much safety in our eyes'."

Palace had to withstand significant pressure before Milivojevic got his chance to win the game as Newcastle squandered a series of chances, with leading scorer Salomon Rondon unusually profligate.

However, the visitors defended with real tenacity to secure a seventh league win of the season on the road, three more than they have managed at Selhurst Park.

Hodgson said: "It was a very important game, hard-fought, but I thought that I could be very, very proud of the team's performance."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.

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