Teemu Pukki ‘needs help’ as Norwich look to ease goalscoring burden

The Canaries are second bottom in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham

Nick Mashiter
Friday 03 December 2021 11:02
Dean Smith Norwich unveiling

Boss Dean Smith has urged his Norwich players to ease the burden on Teemu Pukki

The Canaries chief wants his goal-shy squad to starting scoring ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham.

Finland international Pukki has five goals this season with just three others – Mathias Normann, Andrew Omobamidele and Grant Hanley – netting in the Premier League

Pukki’s late goal at Newcastle rescued a 1-1 draw for the Canaries on Wednesday and he has now scored 71 times in just 139 games for the club.

“He needs help,” said Smith. “Looking at Teemu and speaking to him you wouldn’t know he is carrying such a weight on his shoulders. He seems a real level-headed, laid-back guy who wants to work hard for the team.

“He’s one who I knew was a good player but you don’t realise how good a player until you actually work with him. His work-rate, the quality of his finishing, the quality of his runs and he sets the tempo at the top for us.

“I’ve been really pleased in what we’ve got. He is setting a standard for the others to follow. But we know we can’t be over-reliant on just one goalscorer in the team. We need goals from other areas.

“We’ve spoken about it, that’s why the importance of set-pieces also comes into play. If we can be a little bit more creative in those areas then we will get goals from other players.

“What helps is he’s had the experience of playing in the Premier League. He’s got the experience of another season in the Championship, where he’s done really well, and he understands his own body. We help him along the way.”

Smith insisted he was yet to speak to sporting director Stuart Webber about trying to remedy Norwich’s goalscoring issues in January, with the Canaries having netted just eight times in 14 league games.

“I’ve not even looked at January or spoken to Stuart about it at all. I’m still assessing the players we have here, I’m really pleased with what we’ve got out of them and I think there’s more to come,” he said.

Forward Milot Rashica has been ruled out for up to a month with a groin injury.

Mathias Normann (pelvis) is out along with Christoph Zimmermann (ankle) and long-term absentee Sam Byram but Todd Cantwell is available after having to self-isolate.

Norwich remain second bottom after the draw in Newcastle but Smith is unbeaten with two draws and a win in his opening three games since replacing Daniel Farke last month.

“We look hard to beat, I can’t remember Newcastle having many chances,” he said.

“We’ve felt we left some points out there. With Newcastle going down to 10 men after 10 minutes, we could have been better with the ball and we felt we should have performed a lot better. It’s a solid start and we look hard to beat.”

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