Ki to turn injury woe into a positive
Ki Sung-yueng said the injury which ended his Asian Cup hopes left him "depressed" so he is now looking to make up for lost time.
The 30-year-old South Korea international returned to action for Newcastle in Saturday's 3-2 Premier League victory over Everton after a 14-game absence dating back to December.
Ki picked up a hamstring injury in his country's opening game in the tournament, a 1-0 win over the Philippines, and then aggravated it in training and headed back to Tyneside for treatment.
He said: "I was out for two months and away from the pitch. The injury occurred after the first game in the Asian Cup, then I came back to training and got injured again, so I had to come back to Newcastle, which was very disappointing.
"I never expected this and I was very depressed and disappointed. But this is the life of a footballer and you get injuries.
"I couldn't play until February and I was focused on getting back and waiting for my chance to play for Newcastle again. I am not 100 per cent fit yet, but I will be better as I play more games."
Ki was in fine form before he met up with his international team-mates, but looked rusty on his return in place of the injured Sean Longstaff on what proved to be an eventful afternoon at St James' Park.
The Magpies trailed 2-0 with 25 minutes remaining having missed a first-half penalty, but hit back trough Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez's double to snatch a priceless win.
The former Swansea midfielder said: "We could have easily given up and it could have been heads down. In the dressing room, we said that if we got one goal that a second and third is possible.
"We're very happy with the result, but we're not finished yet. We have to keep going until the last game of the season."
Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.