Ki Sung-yueng opens up on negotiations as deadline looms at Newcastle
Ki Sung-yueng's admitted the Fulham game could be his last for Newcastle United until February.
The midfielder, signed on a free transfer in the summer, has hit form for the club over the past two months.
Ki helped Rafa Benitez’s side beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.
However, the South Korea international could have to link up with his country ahead of the Asian Cup, which is being staged in the United Arab Emirates next month, after Saturday’s home fixture against Fulham.
Asked when he had to meet up with his international team-mates, Ki said: “I don’t know. It isn’t confirmed yet, but, by the FIFA rules, it’s two weeks before the first game, so it could be after next week.
“I think they’re talking, there are negotiations, so it’s too many games I’ll be missing. It depends on the games.
“The final is on February 1, so it’s quite a long time.
“But I don’t want to be greedy, because we have good players. If I can’t play, I can’t play. Also, it’s crucial for my country. They haven’t won it for nearly 60 years. I can’t be in two places at once.”
South Korea opened their Asian Cup campaign with a game against the Philippines on January 7 in Dubai.
And Ki wants to help Newcastle record another win before he leaves Tyneside.
“I’m happy we’ve put this run of form together before I leave,” said Ki, who left Swansea City in the summer.
“I don’t know when I’m going to leave, because there are not many games left in which I can play.
“So as much as I can, I try to win every game, and then of course I feel a little sorry for the team, as they’re in the middle of the season, but at least we’re in good shape.
“I don’t know when I come back if my place will be there, but I’m very pleased and satisfied so far with the team and everything I play for.”
Salomon Rondon scored United’s winner against Huddersfield.
The result moved the club up to 14th place in the Premier League.
“I think this game was crucial for us, especially this one and the next one against Fulham,” said Ki. “And maybe we can say this was like a six-point game.
“It was a difficult game. They pressed very well, and then they controlled the game.
“But when we had the chance, we scored, and at the end we got the three points.
“The effort was great. The boys gave everything. It was rainy and a bad day, and that made everything more difficult, but I’m very pleased we got three points.”
Newcastle were on the back foot for much of the first half at the John Smith’s Stadium, when they had to defend deep and in numbers,.
However, they saw more of the ball after the break, and Rondon scored from a quick break forward.
“For sure we have very good defenders – everyone was involved defensively,” said Ki.
“We can say we gave everything. Of course, there are some things we can improve on the offensive side, but it’s always difficult when you come away, and into this kind of game.
“Huddersfield gave everything to try to win this game. The boys were very happy, and we hope we keep going until the next game.”
Ki – who missed some of the club’s pre-season campaign because of his involvement in South Korea’s World Cup campaign – found opportunities hard to come by early in the season, and it took him time to find his form at Newcastle.
“I try to concentrate on the team more than my individual performance, because even though you play well, if you don’t win, there’s no point,” said Ki.
“So I always try to help the team to win games. We’ve got four wins now, so I’m very happy with the team and hopefully we get the next three (points) also , especially in front of the home fans, because we don’t get many good results in front of them.
“So, hopefully, we will win three points.”
Ki and his team-mates had cancelled their Christmas party, which had been due to take place in London after the Huddersfield game, because of the club’s position in the table.
“The players are more focused on the pitch than having a Christmas party,” said Ki.
“We can have a Christmas party whenever we want. This is the priority for us, to stay up in the league first.”