Norwich star Teemu Pukki commits himself to shooting club back into the Premier League and vows: I'm going nowhere

TEEMU PUKKI has given every Norwich fan an early Christmas present.

The striker promises he is committed to shooting the club back into the Premier League and is going nowhere next month.

Pukki, 30, will attract a lot of suitors in the January transfer window.

But he told SunSport: “I’ve no plans for leaving in January. I’m fighting for this team and we’ve got a big season going on.

“I want to go back into the Premier League and I’m fighting for that.”

Pukki is modest for a footballer generating so much love.

The striker won legendary status at Carrow Road after shooting them into the Premier League in his first season with a staggering 29 goals after signing on a free from Brondby.

And he then secured himself as a national treasure in Finland by firing them into next summer’s rearranged Euros, the first time they have qualified for a major tournament.

His status was illustrated last year when his country’s then Prime Minister Antti Rinne took a special gift to Paris for French president Emmanuel Macron – a Teemu Pukki shirt.

The striker told me: “It was a bit weird seeing that happen. I didn’t know how to react and it’s hard to say what I thought about that. I hope President Macron likes the shirt.”

Ironically, reigning World Cup champions France were this week drawn in the same qualifying group for the 2022 tourneament in Qatar.

Pukki’s season with the Canaries in the top flight was a tale of two halves.

In the first part – up until January – he had thumped 11 goals in the top flight, not a bad effort for a club that were bottom for most of it.

But after scoring at Tottenham in a 2-1 defeat, he failed to net again – and, after lockdown, Norwich finished bottom with a whimper as they lost all eight games.

It was a shame because at one stage Norwich, despite their lowly position, were playing great football – prompting pundit Danny Murphy to describe them as the “best ever bottom-of-the-table team”.

So why did Pukki’s form tail off?

He said: “There were a lot of things. As a team we didn’t create the same amount of chances and, personally, my confidence levels were down after not scoring after so many games.

“Up until January-February time, we were playing good football – but just couldn’t get the points. Whenever we went behind, we just couldn’t turn the games around.

As a team we didn’t create the same amount of chances and, personally, my confidence levels were down

“After the corona break, we didn’t score as many goals. It was a tough time, personally and as a team. We weren’t able to raise our level at the end of the season.

“We couldn’t compete in the end at that level – because in the Premier League mistakes made are exploited because there is more quality.”

Now, back in the Championship, the Canaries are flying at the top of the table without really flapping their wings.

The Norfolk club have managed to churn out results with an injury-hit squad – thanks mostly to a more solid defence.

Pukki said: “For sure, I don’t think we’ve shown our best yet. In some moments we have. There have been some tough games where we’ve got the winner in the end.

“We’ve been having a lot of injuries. Hopefully we’ll get our boys back soon.

“Our defenders have been brilliant, the keeper as well. If you compare this season to the one when we went up, we conceded a lot of goals but were scoring a lot of goals as well.

“This time we’ve had a lot of 1-0 victories. If you want to compete at this level you need to be secure at the back. That’s been working well.”

Daniel Farke is known for being a hard taskmasker. His training regime is one of the toughest in English football and the team’s superior fitness levels have played dividends with the amount of late goals they have scored this season.

Nine of their 23 netted have come in the last 10 minutes to either win matches or snatch a point.

Pukki said: “That’s something we’ve been good at. We’ve done a lot of work and have the fitness levels to turn the games in the end.

“That is something we keep working at every week. We can go 90 minutes and turn the games.”

With the Canaries finishing rock bottom by some distance, the board could have been justified to sack their German coach but decided to stay loyal.

And the Finnish ace said: “Since the first moment I came here I felt he was a good manager.

“He got us playing good football. It has been a tough year for all of us. The club wanted to believe he can change things around and that is what we are showing.

“It’s still a lot of work but we’re going in the right direction.”

Pukki’s is looking forward to what he hopes is a huge 2021 – leading Norwich back into the top-flight and then featuring for Finland in the Euros.

He said: “We had some hard times with the national team where we didn't win a single game in one year but in the last couple of years it’s been great for Finnish football.

“We’ve had many players in the European leagues and whenever we get together we’re quite a competitive team. I’m proud of what we’ve done for the Finnish national team and it is every footballer’s dream back home to appear in a major tournament.”


IT'S been a challenge to socially-distance everyone needing treatment in the Norwich medical room this season.

Up until today's trip to Blackburn, they have had a staggering SIXTEEN players who have missed matches through injuries.

Here's their tale of the crocks.

  • Tim Krul (thigh)
  • Sam Byram (hamstring)
  • Jordan Hugill (shoulder)
  • Kieran Dowell (ankle)
  • Todd Cantwell (hip)
  • Xavi Quintilla (hip)
  • Kenny McLean (knee)
  • Adam Idah (knee)
  • Onel Hernandez (adductor)
  • Ben Gibson (calf)
  • Christoph Zimmermann (calf)
  • Przemyslaw Placheta (hamstring)
  • Grant Hanley (hamstring)
  • Marco Stiepermann (back)
  • Bali Mumba (knee)
  • Teemu Pukki (hamstring)

Norwich have taken advantage of Pukki’s status in Finland by forging a number of commercial partnership in the Scandinavian country.

The club have deals in place with plastic-free-cups firm Kotka Mills, travel company Dr. Oetker Suom and Pyynikin Brewery – as well as sell plenty of Pukki merchandise that sells in his homeland almost as fast a Finnish vodka.

But surely Norwich are missing a trick in their partnership with British firm Pukka Pies.

A hearty Pukki Pie has a really nice ring to it.

The Finnish ace laughed: “I’ve never tried a pie.”

You really should, Teemu. Get Delia Smith to bake you one.

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