Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic: Manchester City made it so tough for us – we had a game plan

BY SAM SMITH

Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic reckoned Manchester City provided proof of why they are “one of the best teams in the league” in Sunday’s 3-1 victory at Selhurst Park.

The reigning Premier League champions brushed aside the South Londoners at Selhurst Park, easing into a 2-0 lead thanks to Raheem Sterling’s double.

Milivojevic grabbed a goal back with a perfectly executed free-kick five minutes from time – his 12th of the season.

But as Palace swarmed forward in search of an equaliser, the visitors dispossessed Wilfried Zaha on the halfway line and Gabriel Jesus slotted past Vicente Guaita at his near post.

“Today they showed why they’re one of the best teams in the league and it was a very hard game for us,” said the Serbian international.

“They are a team who play with a lot of possession, a lot of movement. It is not easy to track their players.

“We had our game plan and how we wanted to surprise them – try and do something from the counter attack, because if you open the field a little bit they are going to find the space.

“It is very hard to find time on the ball to create opportunities because they press you straight away. They don’t give you a lot of time to think.”

Roy Hodgson reacted to Milivojevic’s goal by switching to a 4-4-2 formation, moving Zaha alongside Christian Benteke in an attempt to find an equaliser.

But that left space for the visitors to exploit, with Jesus converting neatly from Kevin de Bruyne’s pass.

“After my free-kick we tried to do something – to score one more goal,” the 28-year-old added.

“Over the 90 minutes they were in control, they were the better team and from my point of view they deserved three points.

“It is very hard to play against these types of teams. My goal came at a good time with 10 minutes to go. We tried to surprise them. We had a good cross after that, that we should’ve tried to finish – because against teams like this you don’t get many chances.

PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD

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