Milivojevic unconcerned by pre-season struggles

Crystal Palace
Luka Milivojevic says Crystal Palace will host Cardiff on Boxing Day brimming with confidence after a stunning victory at Manchester City.

Luka Milivojevic says he has no worries about Crystal Palace’s poor form during pre-season and insists they are ready for the season ahead.

Palace drew their opening match of the season 0-0 against Everton, which was a positive result given their struggles over the summer.

Roy Hodgson’s men played eight pre-season matches in total, winning just two of them and played out some freak results.

They included a 6-2 loss to National League outfit Barnet and 4-0 home defeat to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, but they then impressed in a 5-0 win against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

They got their first point of the season against Everton on Saturday in a tame draw which saw wantaway winger Wilfried Zaha come off the bench against the club he was strongly linked with the week before.

They are set to face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane this weekend as they look to dampen the spirit of the newly-promoted club after their late 1-1 draw against Bournemouth, secured thanks to Billy Sharp’s leveller.

And Milivojevic says ahead of the game that his team can now put pre-season behind them and the results will not necessarily translate to the season proper.

“I’ve had experiences in the past of some pre-seasons where we didn’t play as we wanted but we started the season well and we won titles and cups,” he told Sky Sports.

“Pre-season is the games where you can see where you are. You try something that, during the season, it may be very risky to try, but you also try to work on something that you can transfer to the season.

“I’m not so worried about results in pre-season, honestly, but from every single game that you win or lose, you can learn and take the lesson.”

The Serbian midfielder recently penned a new deal with Palace to 2023 after impressing in his two-and-a-half year stint in England so far.

He signed for the club for around 16million euros from Olympiakos when Sam Allardyce was in charge and has developed a reputation at the club as a fearsome penalty-taker.

Last season he netted 10 times from the spot and that record could potentially be bettered this season with the advent of VAR and the increasing number of spot-kicks likely to be awarded.

His goal record was nearly one in three as he scored 12 times in 38 Premier League games but he does not take his responsibility from 12 yards lightly.

“Every single penalty is different,” he continued.

“It’s a different pressure and different game but in my opinion, a penalty taker has to be very concentrated, very focused. You can never be relaxed and you have to have good technique.”

Palace will rely on his goals this term, having lost loan star Michy Batshuayi to Chelsea, while the aforementioned Zaha is still recovering from playing at the Africa Cup of Nations.