'Teemu is fantastic' - Farke hails Pukki's half century after Blackburn brace
Daniel Farke hailed one of Teemu Pukki’s best Norwich City performances after a starring role in a 2-1 win at Blackburn which left his head coach ‘delighted’ after a third successive victory for his Championship leaders.
The Canaries boss had sung the praises of the Finland striker on the eve of his 100th game and Pukki put the icing on the cake with a match-winning brace at Ewood Park to also take his goal tally for City to 50 goals.
That has moved the 30-year-old level with Martin Peters in 24th place in the club’s all-time top scorers list, with the former Celtic and Schalke forward having signed on a free transfer from Brondby in 2018.
“Teemu is fantastic and we all should value what a player we have and also a quality personality,” Farke said after the triumph in Lancashire, which kept his team three points clear at the top of the table.
“It was one of his best games in a yellow shirt, not just because of the two goals but also his workload. He was relentless today in his pressing, he won so many balls and when you go back to how we scored the second goal he was also crucial to win the ball with his pressing to stay in the game.
“He creates with his movement so much space and room for his team-mates. He is always an offensive threat and he knows that at the moment he knows we have to play without some players, without a proper left full-back, without our number one goalkeeper and still some key players are out.
“Thank god some lads are on the way back and I was able to bring them in for a bit longer period of time today but Teemu knows how much responsibility is on his shoulders.
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“To deliver with this class and this performance, this commitment – also for him there is unbelievable pressure. He has to deliver every three days and even in Finland when they have national team games he is a superstar and if a prime minister from another country visits he always gets the shirt of Teemu Pukki.
“That shows how much pressure is on this lad but how he handles this with such humbleness and such a workload and just thinking about the team, we never have any conversations about he wants to leave the club or whatever.
“He enjoys to represent the yellow shirt, to be together with his team-mates. We don’t have to talk about his goal-scoring ability but also his workload.
“It’s a joy to be able to work with this player each and every day.”
The brace ensured City beat the team who had started the weekend as the Championship’s top scorers, only to be usurped by Bournemouth’s 5-0 home win over Huddersfield which kept the Cherries two points behind Norwich in second place.
Rovers dominated possession and forced Michael McGovern into a succession of saves, with Sam Gallagher hitting the bar prior to Harvey Elliott equalising in the 59th minute – which Pukki swiftly cancelled out.
“We were fully aware that it would be a tough test for us,” Farke said. “For me it was clear before the game that it would be one of the toughest away games of the whole season because Blackburn are one of the competitors for the top six positions.
“I think Tony Mowbray is doing a fantastic job, they have improved from year to year and they have proved this again today.
“They are one of the best possession sides, they are an offensive threat, they score so many goals, one of the biggest offensive threats in this league and I’m pretty sure that not many teams will be capable to travel away from here with points, not even to speak about three points.
“That we were able to do this in a tight game, but also deserved, we have to deliver every three days and still hit pretty much by an injury crisis, in a difficult away game, is not easy for the lads.
“That we are able to travel away with three points feels fantastic and I just can praise my lads for this performance, this result. I’m pretty delighted with this.”