Dion backs Teemu to fire City to Premier League survival
- Credit: Archant
Teemu Pukki can plunder 15 goals plus next season in the Premier League, says former Norwich City player of the year Dion Dublin.
The hugely popular Dublin finished his playing days at Carrow Road, but carved out a successful top flight career at Manchester United, Coventry City and Aston Villa.
Dublin is delighted to see his old club back in the big time and convinced with better service fellow frontman Pukki can thrive second time around.
The Finnish international became the first Norwich player to score a top tier hat-trick since Efan Ekoku, in a blistering start to the club’s previous Premier League tilt under Daniel Farke, but an injury-hit end to the campaign saw the goals dry up.
“Teemu Pukki isn’t going to be a prolific Premier League striker but he can be better than last time,” said Dublin. “With better players around him you can see the runs he makes are superb. He is always in the right position on the pitch for a centre forward. If you give him a better supply he would get you 15 or 18 goals in the Premier League, with the right support.
"I would love him to prove me wrong and go on and get 20 or 25. But he is a very intelligent centre forward.
“As a centre half playing against people like him is one of the hardest things. They are so elusive, you don’t know where they are at certain times. That is how he plays the game. He is a good enough centre forward technically to do it in the Premier League, but give him the supply.”
Dublin, speaking on the latest official Football League podcast, feels Norwich will stay up if they get the recruitment right this summer.
“Yes they got rid of some good players when they came down but they kept the core of four or five players who are the backbone, and Premier League quality,” he said. “If they were able to add five or six of those level of players I really think they would be okay next year when they come up.
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"Credit to the players but you have to look at Delia and Michael, Stuart Webber, and the gaffer.
"It sums it up that they have stuck together and been rewarded. Norwich City is a Premier League club. They belong in the Premier League for me without a shadow of a doubt.
“They do have to be a bit more streetwise in how they play the game. They got caught out so many times not being good enough at Premier League level to play out from the back in their own final third.
"They were often 1-0 down before you even started in some games. I am pretty sure with that experience they will get it right next time around.”
City’s impressive defensive record under Farke this season indicates Dublin’s message has already been taken on board.
“The results suggest their game management, how they think about the game when they get in front, is better,” he said. “They know how to keep hold of what they have got. They are growing up into responsible men who know how to play the game.
“At no stage when Norwich went through that horrendous period in the Premier League did the manager ever change his tone. He spoke incredibly well and that will have helped the players.
"He stayed calm and didn’t go hot or cold with the players. I am sure he had his say at the right time, but the application has been there from the players this season.
“They will also feel a little more comfortable. The next time around in the Premier League it won’t be ‘look at this stadium, or we’re playing against Harry Kane.’ I have been in that situation myself when you play the big guns and you can lose a game without leaving the team coach.”