'This says a lot about his character' - Farke reveals Pukki passed up chance to score City's penalty winner against Wigan
Daniel Farke has praised Teemu Pukki's unselfish decision to allow Mario Vrancic to take Norwich City's winning penalty against Wigan at Carrow Road this afternoon.
The in-form Finn was hauled down by Latics defender Callum Connolly in the 86th minute, giving him a chance to score for a sixth successive game for club and country and to score his seventh goal of his club season.
However, Pukki felt Vrancic was better placed to take the spot-kick and grab the three points, sealing City’s fifth successive win in all competitions and extending their unbeaten run to seven matches.
“Normally in this situation he would have taken the penalty and normally each striker is selfish to add to his personal record, to score in a sixth game in a row, also to be there in his place as the best striker in the whole league,” Farke revealed.
“Normally you are so desperate to be the hero again in this determining role but he said he was fouled and didn’t feel comfortable to take this penalty, Mario you take this one.
“This says a lot about his character and about his attitude, and about our togetherness and commitment in our whole group again. Also the workload of Teemu was pretty good, there were games when he was even more involved in the offensive game but today was more like a hard-fought win.
“But in general I was totally pleased with his performance, he was also there to create the penalty in the first half and the second half and also was crucial to our win.”
The victory lifted the Canaries up to fifth place and into the play-off positions for just the second time during Farke’s reign but City’s head coach felt the win should have been more comfortable, after Chey Dunkley survived bringing Pukki down from behind midway through the first half.
“It was a close game today and a hard-fought win but I think a well-deserved win because we didn’t give one chance away, Tim (Krul) had no saves in the whole 90 minutes and we had many, many good situations,” the German continued.
“Marco Stiepermann three or four times was in a good shooting position, Teemu Pukki one or two times, and we should have received a penalty in the first half – it was quite obvious.
“In general I think a well-deserved win but a hard-fought win because Wigan were also on fire and it was important to be there again with good defensive behaviour.
“All the games at Championship level are pretty close and you have to be concentrated in each and every game, you have to fight until the last second and everything is done, and we have to go on in this style.”
Farke did feel the deciding penalty which was awarded was the correct decision from referee Gavin Ward though.
“Marco Stiepermann won the ball back in the opponents’ box pretty well and a smart pass to Teemu Pukki, who was there in a shooting position and the opponent grabbed the shirt and hit his shoulder in order to disturb him in his shooting,” he added.
“I don’t think he had to dive and roll around so it was a clear penalty and a well deserved goal.”