As referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot last Saturday in the victory against Leicester City the thoughts of Palace fans would have been towards captain Luka Milivojevic stepping up to continue his impressive form with penalties this season but the Serbian international had other ideas.
The midfielder has scored seven penalties from his ten goals this season but on this occasion decided to give Christian Benteke the opportunity to convert the chance for his first goal at Selhurst this season.
Benteke duly obliged and Hodgson was pleased to see the Belgian striker have the opportunity to celebrate with his team mates and home fans although he was not surprised at the team spirit shown in front of the Holmesdale Road stand.
“I would expect it of them as I know them and know how good they are in that respect and we all realise for a long period of time that the fact that Christian hasn’t been successful is not because he doesn’t want to be or hasn’t got the right desire or attitude but it is one of those things that happens to players when it is not quite going for you and sometimes the more you work to get it out of it then the worse it can become.
“The players have understood that so it was nice to be able to give him that penalty which he provoked with a very good run so it was his goal chance and Luka, who is an excellent captain, and has done brilliantly well for us as a penalty taker, is not the egotistic sort of guy who wants one more goal to his name and he realised, like we did on the bench, that this might be an opportunity for Christian Benteke to say to the fans ‘don’t give up on me’”
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