Norwich head coach Daniel Farke has every confidence “humble” striker Teemu Pukki can continue to hold his own in the Premier League.
The Finland forward is set to lead the Canaries attack against Manchester United at Carrow Road on Sunday.
While Pukki scored twice in a 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Armenia during the international break, he has not found the net for Norwich since the win over Manchester City on September 14.
Farke, though, feels a lot of Pukki’s unselfish work goes unnoticed and he should not be judged purely on goals tally, which currently stands at six in the Premier League.
“I can’t hide that Teemu had an unbelievable start. He scored goals for fun and has impressed with assists,” the Norwich head coach said of the 2018/2019 Championship player of the season.
“He’s capable of linking the play and works so much for the team.”
“Teemu has always been more than just a goalscorer. I want all my players to be more than important in their own position, that’s part of our approach.”
Farke told a press conference: “Teemu is always humble and important for the mood. He thinks more for the team-mates than himself.”
Sunday’s visit of United will provide Norwich with another opportunity to prove the 3-2 defeat of City was not a flash in the pan.
Since then, the Canaries lost three straight league matches – including being thrashed 5-1 at home by Aston Villa – but did respond with a battling goalless draw at Bournemouth when domestic action resumed after the international break.
“These are the games you play football for. You can’t be too scared,” the Norwich head coach said.
“We have to show some courage. It’s not a guarantee it always works, but you have to grab your chances with both hands.”
United head into Sunday’s match having secured a long-overdue away victory from their Europa League match at Partizan Belgrade on Thursday night.
The Red Devils currently sit just three points ahead of Norwich in the table, but have some momentum on the back of last weekend’s battling 1-1 draw against league leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford.
“It is a question of time until United are back where they belong,” Farke said.
“The transition period won’t last long. They are used to winning games at the club. We don’t underestimate them.
“The pace and the speed of their offensive players is outstanding. The defensive players have unbelievable pace too, so to control their counters will be a key topic for sure.”
Farke has been impressed with the way United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has conducted himself in what is one of the most high-profile jobs in world football.
“To follow Jose Mourinho is not easy for Ole. It’s a difficult time, but you can see what he wants on the pitch,” said the German, who guided Norwich to the Sky Bet Championship title last season.
“I appreciate the job he’s doing it because he’s doing it in a complicated period with a calm, disciplined, professional way.”
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