‘A brilliant player…and opponents know it’ – Buendia taking the rough and producing the smooth

Teemu Pukki carries a broad smile as Norwich City earn another derby day victory over Ipswich Town. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Teemu Pukki carries a broad smile as Norwich City earn another derby day victory over Ipswich Town. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Emi Buendia is the man with a target on his back – and a key ingredient in Norwich City’s stunning success so far this season.

The 22-year-old Argentine playmaker took his assists tally to 12 in all competitions on Sunday, with two perfect contributions to top-scorer Teemu Pukki – while the rest of Buendia’s East Anglian derby involved some special attention from Paul Lambert’s side.

Pukki didn’t have much of the rough stuff to deal with himself, but appreciated what Buendia is having to play through with each passing week as he makes his name in English football.

“I love playing with him,” said Pukki. “He is a brilliant player – and you can see the other teams know that as well, because in many games they go really hard on him.

Emi Buendia applauds the Norwich City fans following victory over Ipswich Town, and their return to the top of the Championship. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesEmi Buendia applauds the Norwich City fans following victory over Ipswich Town, and their return to the top of the Championship. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

“That’s what the good players do to other teams – they make them try to get them out of the game – but he kept his cool well and gave me those two passes.

“I think all the guys that have been playing behind me, they create so many chances for me. I enjoy playing with all of them and this time, it was Emi who gave me those two goals.

“I wouldn’t say they were easy to score – but those two gave me the chance to score and they were brilliant passes from Emi.”

Teemu Pukki scored goals 20 and 21 of a stunning first season in English football with Norwich City - and booked them another derby success over Ipswich Town in the process. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesTeemu Pukki scored goals 20 and 21 of a stunning first season in English football with Norwich City - and booked them another derby success over Ipswich Town in the process. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

There may have been the odd sense of a wobble as City embarked on tough Championship runs both through Christmas and since the new year.

And while Pukki is keen to keep it cool, there was no hiding his delight at Norwich rediscovering their rhythm – culminating in the biggest home league win of the Daniel Farke era so far and a two-point lead at the second tier summit.

“I think we’re playing well at the moment,” added Pukki. “There was a little bit where we didn’t get the wins after Christmas, so we’ve got ourselves together and started winning games again – and that’s important.

“There are still 15 to go, so we’ve just got to keep the momentum and keep playing well, like we are playing.

“You can see in this league anyone can beat anyone, and until the last minute you have to be focused in every game. That’s what we are doing and I believe we can keep going the same way.

“It feels amazing to score those two goals. The feeling was a bit different than in other games.

“You could see and hear the atmosphere, it was a bit louder than normal and it was a really good feeling to score.”

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