Luka Milivojevic's penalty-taking heroics are no secret to anyone. However, what hasn't been common knowledge before were the steps Palace's captain takes to make himself one of the finest craftsman from 12-yards out. Milivojevic revealed all in our most recent matchday programme at home to Huddersfield Town. Check out the below snippet from the interview.
Into his third year with Palace, you would be forgiven for thinking that the former Anderlecht midfielder would have tired from all the penalty chat. But the very mention of the ‘p-word’ sparks a glint in his eye and what follows is a fascinating insight into the art that is taking a penalty – because that is exactly how Luka, and all top class spot-kick takers, see penalty-taking as: an art form.
“In the beginning, I think, everyone like to try and shoot in some unique way, to have their own style, but when you’re older and you’re experienced, you know what works,” he said.
“Penalties in my experience are not, as people say, like a lottery; it is not a lottery – it is a lot of focus, concentration, quality and technique; penalties are now such a big part of football today.
“When you’re older, you see what is more important and when you get a chance to score a penalty, you have more experience, you are calmer and that is something that comes with age.”
It is perhaps only after speaking with one of its finest craftsmen that you truly realise the skill behind taking a successful penalty and understand why Palace’s talisman has scored more from 12-yards than any other player since his Premier League debut against Stoke City back in February 2017.
“Honestly, I watch videos of goalkeepers; I try to scout goalkeepers. But in the end I think it all depends on me: how I shoot – the goalkeeper has no chance if I shoot how I want and where I want. However, it is not always easy, especially in the last 10-15 minutes of a game when you’re getting tired and you want to keep focused.
“I think today that football penalties have become like mind games.”
But do not consider that for even one second Palace get ‘lucky’ or ‘have the rub of the green’ because to do that is to water down the impact of Luka’s teammates and Roy Hodgson’s tactical approach, according to the Serbian.
“What is true is that we have a lot of penalties but we deserve them because we try and move the ball around the box, because you can’t get a penalty out of the box. And that means we have a lot of skilful players who receive the ball in the box, which is very hard to defend against, especially in the Premier League. And that is why we have a lot, it has nothing to do with luck!”
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