Norwich head coach Daniel Farke described in-form Teemu Pukki as unplayable after the striker scored twice in the 3-1 win away to Birmingham.
The 30-year-old took his tally to six goals in his last four games and 17 for the season, while he also missed a first-half penalty.
Pukki’s double helped the Canaries to a fourth straight victory that took Norwich 10 points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship, at least for 24 hours before Brentford and Watford play.
“I think he was unplayable during the whole game. They had problems controlling his movement and he created a lot,” said Farke.
“Teemu for me is the best player and the best striker in this league.
“He is selfless – it’s his workload in terms of pressing and winning balls back, but also how he delivers.
“He is always there with a crucial goal – with the opener, 1-0 in the last four games, three times he has scored the first goal.
“He’s not the guy who scores in an easy 7-1 with a back heeler – he is there when it counts.
“This time he scored the first goal then again to make it 2-1 after the equaliser – he is always there when it’s really necessary.”
The win, with Oliver Skipp making it 3-1 with virtually the last kick, flattered Norwich after Birmingham played excellently in the first half.
“We showed a winning mentality,” said Farke. “I told them at half-time, I wanted to see some steel, some spirit and some togetherness and what we delivered in the second half was outstanding.”
Birmingham head coach Aitor Karanka was full of praise for his side’s performance even though the loss took them to 12 home games without a win.
“I think it is the best 45 minutes we have played this season,” he said. “The progression the team has made since the first game against Norwich is amazing.
“Once again this season it is the same story every single game. We’ve been much better than them, especially in the first half.
“They are the best team in the league by far. The table is a reflection on how good they are, 10 points clear, and in the first half we were as good, if not better than them.
“Again we have to take positive things and to keep going.
“I have to keep believing and trusting in these players because once again they have shown they are very good players.”
Norwich took the lead against the run of play in the 26th minute when Dimitris Giannoulis played in Kenny McLean, who touched to Pukki for a powerful finish.
Pukki produced a poor spot-kick in the 35th minute that goalkeeper Neil Etheridge blocked after the keeper brought down Todd Cantwell.
Birmingham levelled in the 39th minute through Ivan Sanchez after goalkeeper Tim Krul saved the winger’s first shot.
But Pukki tapped home with 76 minutes gone after Emiliano Buendia’s shot hit Harlee Dean.
Skipp tapped home in the fifth minute of time added on after Lukas Rupp ran 70 yards on the counter-attack.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1