'Very happy' - Buendia finding his rhythm as City reclaim top spot
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Emi Buendia can feel his Championship rhythm returning as every game passes, after notching his fifth goal of the season to help in-form Norwich City return to the top of the table.
The 23-year-old was a revelation during his first campaign in England, with eight goals and 12 assists playing a major role in the Canaries’ title win of 2018-19.
After City’s disappointing season in the Premier League the Argentine ace is back in the Championship and already has five goals and six assists to his name from 12 games.
“I was struggling in the beginning of the season, after a lot of time without playing a competitive game,” said Buendia after Wednesday night’s 2-1 win at Reading.
“Now I’ve played a lot of games in a row and got confidence.
“I’m happy to play with these team-mates and to keep improving.”
The former Real Madrid and Getafe trainee took advantage of a poor defensive pass from Royals midfielder Andy Rinomhota before swiftly slotting a classy left-footed finish into the bottom-left corner.
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The hosts equalised quickly but Teemu Pukki reclaimed the lead early in the second half from the penalty spot, having been denied by two good saves before half-time.
“It’s good, very happy with the result, it was a very tough game. Happy to help the team with the goal, so we keep going,” said the playmaker.
“We knew the game would be very tough, they are a good team, they build very well with the ball.
“We talked about their pressing, we pressed very well, Stiepi (Marco Stiepermann) and Teemu pressed very well in the first half, so that was my turn to get the ball in the pressing and we scored.
“So happy with the work of everyone.”
City boss Daniel Farke opted to bring on the fit-again duo of Todd Cantwell and Kieran Dowell in place of Stiepermann and youngster Josh Martin at the break.
“It was a tough game in the first half for Josh but he is very young, he has very good quality,” Buendia said. “I just think he has to learn about this and keep working hard like he did.
“Also very happy to see Kieran with us again, he’s a quality player, and also Todd. Both of them gave a lot to the team.”
Martin, 19, has been impressing this season as he gets his first taste of regular first-team action, giving glimpses of his talent while more experienced attacking midfielders have been out of contention.
The Arsenal academy product endured a frustrating first half at the Madejski Stadium but Buendia will be looking after his young team-mate, as he embraces the role of mentor.
“He works really hard in training, I love that type of player so I am really happy with him,” the former Argentina Under-20 international added.
“I talk a lot with him to try to help because he is young but he has a lot of time to improve and become a really good player.”