Premier League
NewcastleNewcastle United0FulhamFulham0

Newcastle 0-0 Fulham: Benitez unhappy with decisions

By Emma SandersBBC Sport
Newcastle and Fulham players react
Former Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic had just one shot on target for Fulham

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez said he was "not happy with some situations and decisions" from his side during their draw with bottom side Fulham at St James' Park.

The hosts built momentum in the second half and were denied a penalty despite appeals for a shirt tug on Kenedy by Fulham's Joe Bryan.

Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic then had a shot blocked by Jamaal Lascelles with minutes to go - prompting another penalty appeal for handball - before Aboubakar Kamara's darting run threatened to win it for the visitors.

"The worst thing is that, in a game we could win, where we were pushing and had control, we could have lost it in the last counter-attack," said Benitez. "It's good that we didn't lose but the negative is that we gave Fulham those situations to score and were a bit lucky in the end.

"You have to find the balance if you want to win. Sometimes you're attacking but make a wrong decision and leave yourself exposed."

Newcastle's best chance arrived in the first half when Lascelles' header bounced dangerously across the face of goal after taking a deflection off Mitrovic.

Fabian Schar also went close with a header in the second half which flew inches over the crossbar.

Fulham remain four points from safety but kept their first clean sheet in 22 Premier League games - since winning 1-0 against Norwich in April 2014.

Of the 92 teams in professional English football, Fulham were the only team not to have kept a clean sheet prior to this draw.

Manager Claudio Ranieri said his players "responded well" to a new system and if they continued to fight "sooner or later we'll change the way".

"It's the first time I've tried to play with three centre-backs and the players responded well," said Ranieri. "They were very solid against a physical team.

"I'm happy because every point we achieve is good."

Newcastle appeals fall on deaf ears

Newcastle will sit in 15th place on Christmas Day before embarking on a tough run of fixtures that will see them take on Liverpool and Chelsea away, as well as welcoming Manchester City and Manchester United to St James' Park.

They would have seen this game as an opportunity to pick up all three points and record back-to-back victories for the first time in the league since the end of November.

But it was a contest of very few clear-cut chances - Newcastle failed to record a single shot on target despite earning six corners.

There were a few soft appeals for a penalty in the first half when Tim Ream brought down Salomon Rondon, and again when Matt Ritchie's shot hit the hand of Calum Chambers, who was unable to move it out of the way.

And when Kenedy appeared to be dragged back by Bryan, frustrations grew around the ground.

Improvement at the back for Fulham

Bottom of the Premier League table graphic
Bottom-of-the-table Fulham will take on relegation rivals Huddersfield on 29 December

It took 22 Premier League matches, but Fulham eventually recorded a clean sheet - and it was one they had to fight for.

But despite the hosts' increased pressure, Fulham were rarely troubled and had two great chances at the end to win the game.

Mitrovic's shot which hit Lascelles was worth appealing for and moments later Kamara's driving run threatened to split open a defence which had been caught on the counter-attack.

Lascelles recovered in time for Newcastle to deny Kamara a last-ditch effort on goal but Fulham's confidence will have been bolstered by their defensive display against an organised team.

'Very important for us' - what they said

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez and Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri
Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri (right) joked Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez (left) was more Italian than him before the match because of his tactical astuteness

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez: "Sometimes it can be tense at home, when they say you have to win the game, but Fulham spent a lot of money in the summer. They are bottom but have a good team. They are organised, they had five at the back and were dangerous on the counter-attack.

"It's good that we didn't lose but the negative is that we gave Fulham those situations to score and were a bit lucky in the end."

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri: "It is very important for us. First half maybe we created more play and had possession well, but they had a very big chance.

"Second half we lost control and they were dangerous, but we had four or five chances on the counter-attack, so at the end I'm happy because every point we achieve is good."

The best of the stats

  • Benitez has yet to lose a home Premier League game against Fulham (W4 D4), with his teams keeping a clean sheet in each of the past six meetings.
  • Fulham kept their first clean sheet in the Premier League in 22 games, since winning 1-0 against Norwich in April 2014.
  • Fulham won just their second away point in their past 12 outings in the Premier League (D2 L10).
  • Newcastle have won just three of their past 17 Premier League games against promoted sides (D5 L9).
  • Newcastle have won just two of their past 10 Premier League games at St James' Park (D1 L7).
  • Fulham have failed to find the back of the net in six of their past nine Premier League games.

What's next?

Newcastle travel to league leaders Liverpool on Wednesday 26 December (15:00 GMT), while Fulham welcome Wolves to Craven Cottage (12:30 GMT).



  • 12Dubravka
  • 19ManquilloSubstituted forYedlinat 84'minutes
  • 5Schär
  • 6Lascelles
  • 3Dummett
  • 11Ritchie
  • 30AtsuSubstituted forKenedyat 72'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 4Ki Sung-yueng
  • 10Diamé
  • 17Pérez
  • 9Rondón


  • 13Muto
  • 14Hayden
  • 15Kenedy
  • 18Fernandez
  • 21Joselu
  • 22Yedlin
  • 41Woodman


  • 25Rico
  • 4Odoi
  • 26Mawson
  • 13Ream
  • 22Christie
  • 5Chambers
  • 24SeriBooked at 87mins
  • 23Bryan
  • 10CairneySubstituted forAyitéat 82'minutes
  • 9Mitrovic
  • 14SchürrleSubstituted forKamaraat 76'minutesBooked at 84mins


  • 1Bettinelli
  • 6McDonald
  • 8Johansen
  • 11Ayité
  • 19Vietto
  • 20Le Marchand
  • 47Kamara
Martin Atkinson

Match Stats

Home TeamNewcastleAway TeamFulham
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Newcastle United 0, Fulham 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Newcastle United 0, Fulham 0.

  3. Post update

    Paul Dummett (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham).

  5. Post update

    Offside, Newcastle United. Kenedy tries a through ball, but Jamaal Lascelles is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Kenedy (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham).

  8. Post update

    Hand ball by Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham).

  9. Booking

    Kenedy (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Kenedy (Newcastle United).

  11. Post update

    Joe Bryan (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aboubakar Kamara.

  13. Booking

    Jean Michael Seri (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Salomón Rondón (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Jean Michael Seri (Fulham).

  16. Post update

    Foul by Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United).

  17. Post update

    Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kenedy (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a set piece situation.

  19. Post update

    Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Cyrus Christie (Fulham).


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