By Andrew McSteen
Crystal Palace’s Serbian midfielder Luka Milivojevic was left again bemoaning a solitary point in the Premier League after his 55th minute penalty cancelled out a first-half Newcastle United strike from Mohamed Diame in the 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
“We deserved to win today,” said Milivojevic to the South London Press after the draw against Rafa Benitez’s men on Sunday afternoon. “I said that if we won today then that point at West Ham would be massive, but we created, and we missed, a lot of chances today and in the end we have to respect the point.
“In the first half we had three or four very good chances to score and in the second half seven, eight chances – I don’t remember how many, but we created a lot and controlled most of the game, we just had a problem controlling the game for the 10-15 minutes after the corner when we conceded the goal.”
Palace did score, and it was through Milivojevic from the penalty spot, converting in front of the Holmesdale end to banish memories of his miss from the spot against Manchester City and set his side up for a blistering final 35 minutes which was to ultimately prove fruitless.
“Last time I was unlucky today I was lucky,” said the former Anderlecht player about his equalising penalty, given after shirt pulling in the area. “In this league it (shirt-pulling) is normal as there is always a lot of fight for the ball and that is part of the game.
“We don’t have to forget this game, if we can repeat the same way we played today against Everton, it will be perfect. We have to try to do the same job, if we can create chances like this it will be perfect – if we can score more goals.”
That trip to Everton this Saturday for Palace’s next Premier League clash will see Toffees boss Sam Allardyce face his former team after he left pre-season following his announcement that he would be retiring from football. However, the lure of Merseyside was too much for ‘Big Sam’ to resist and he will be aiming to put one over on his former employers.
“I was surprised to see him back,” said the 26-year-old, Kragujevac-born Serbian about Allardyce’s return to the dug-out. “I didn’t expect [him to leave] but we got told one morning he had left and that he wanted to retire from football. We were not happy because we had good results under him, it was a shock for us, but it was in the break after the season and that’s life – then, some months later, he went to Everton because they needed him.
“He was the manager who signed me, OK it was a difficult moment at the time [for Palace in the league] but for my career it was perfect move. I was very pleased with him when he signed me, I played for him in the second part of the season and we stayed in the league – I have very nice memories under him.
“He was one of the best managers who I have worked with and before and after the game we will shake hands because we spent a lot of time together and have great memories – but now, I am on the other side.”
With the Premier League so tight, a win or draw – depending on other results – for Palace could see them move up a few places up the table, but Milivojevic knows nothing can be taken for granted.
“We will give our all to beat them, but Everton have an amazing squad,” he said. “They signed a lot of good players and it will be difficult. I have never played there before but I heard the atmosphere is good.
“We have five days to prepare for the match, but after beginning the season without a point or goal in our first seven games we are now in a perfect situation where there are eight or nine teams fighting to stay in the league.
“After that start [to the season] we have to be happy where we are now, and we will keep fighting for points.”