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Magpies frustrated by Fulham stalemate, says Ki

Ki Sung-yueng admitted Newcastle United were left frustrated after being held to a goalless draw by Fulham on Saturday afternoon.

The Magpies faced the Premier League’s bottom club at St. James’ Park a week on from the vital 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town.

But they couldn’t quite find a way through against Claudio Ranieri’s men, who defended doggedly throughout.

Rafa Benítez’s side had to settle for a point, however, and Ki – who felt United were in control of the contest for large spells after the break – believes his team can learn something from their clash with the Cottagers.

“It’s frustrating. I think people expected that because Fulham are bottom of the table, it was a chance to get three points,” he told nufc.co.uk.

“But I think, especially in the second half, we were in control of the game, except the last five minutes when we all went forward and gave them counter attacks.

“With the teams that drop deep and come here to take a point, we have to have more patience with the ball and keep it moving, so that we let them run. It’s this kind of game we need to learn from, and then hopefully we won’t make the same mistakes in the next games.”

The Magpies struggled to carve out clear scoring opportunities, while Fulham could have snatched the three points late on through former Newcastle frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic and Aboubakar Kamara, who was halted by Jamaal Lascelles’ superb sliding challenge.

“I thought they were quite defensive and organised,” said Ki. “They defended well, with five at the back, and they just did a counter attacks. I think we didn’t attack them enough at the back because there weren’t many spaces behind.

“This kind of game is difficult but we have to find a solution, because a lot of teams who are next to us (in the table) come here to defend. Of course there is some disappointment, but we didn’t lose the game. We have to keep going now, and not lose our heads – we don’t need to.”

The game against Fulham was Ki’s last of 2018; he will now link up with his international teammates as the Korea Republic prepare for next month’s Asian Cup, where they will face the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan and China in the group stage.

The tournament will take place in the United Arab Emirates and Ki – who has 108 for his country, and captained them as they finished runners up in the 2015 tournament – will miss at least five Newcastle games.

But the midfielder, who has impressed in the United engine room in the last few months, says he’ll be supporting his club from afar as he bids for international glory.

“It’s the FIFA rules – they can have the players two weeks before the first game, so we can’t do anything with that,” said the 29-year-old.

“But I think Newcastle, our team, is in a crucial moment so I’m very sorry to my teammates. Hopefully the players left here can manage the games well. There are some strong teams to play in January.

“I will be supporting them in Dubai, and hopefully we can keep going, do well and take the positive things.”

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