City boss explains surprise Pukki call after Canaries’ fire blanks again in 1-0 Everton defeat
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Daniel Farke took Teemu Pukki out of the firing line to try and help him break his goal drought, but Norwich City still fired blanks in Wednesday’s 1-0 Premier League home defeat to Everton.
Pukki made a second half cameo at Carrow Road after starting a league game on the bench for the first time in his goal-laden Canaries’ career.
Farke made four changes to his starting line up from Friday’s 3-0 defeat to Southampton, but City have now scored just once in seven league games as they slip ever closer to a Championship return.
Michael Keane’s match-winner left the bottom club seven points from safety with seven top flight games left.
City mustered only one shot on target for the second consecutive game at Carrow Road since football resumed after the long break.
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“Teemu knows I will always back him and support him,” said Farke. “People are talking about how many minutes since he scored in open play.
“Sometimes to break this dry spell and end the curse it makes more sense to bring him to the game when the opponent is bit more tired and he is coming on fresh. That is what we tried but it didn’t work out in terms of the goal.
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“But he knows I totally trust him.
“We had 10 games in five weeks, no proper pre-season and pretty hot conditions. For attacking players especially that is tough. We are trying to get some freshness and sharpness into our play so I wanted to rotate a few positions.
“I felt we had quality players to come in and there were also some tactical thoughts as well. Everton is a team who have the most crosses in the entire league, particularly from their full backs, so we needed players on the pitch who were able to track those full backs.
“From there we felt that could develop our attacking game.”
Farke hailed his squad’s spirit and insisted City can still prolong their quest to upset the odds in the league and this weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final home tie against Manchester United.
“We are not naïve. Of course if you look at it you would say it is not realistic for us to stay in the Premier League or the FA Cup,” he said. “But as long as we have a chance we try to win the FA Cup and try to stay in this league.
“It is still possible and we will keep going. What I want to see is this desire and this commitment and I am pretty sure if we show this in the last seven games we have a chance to win points.
“If it is enough to stay in this league, let us judge at the end.”