Top class Pukki needs help for Smith
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Teemu Pukki is an 'unbelievable’ asset for Norwich City but Dean Smith wants to take the heat off his master marksman.
Pukki went eighth on the club’s all-time goalscoring list with his fourth Premier League goal of the season opening the scoring in a 2-1 win over Southampton.
New boss Smith knows how important the Finnish international is, but wants his team mates to ease the burden.
“I don’t think we can be reliant on one player, but he is an unbelievable player with a great history of scoring goals at this football club, but we have to be more than about just one player,” he said. “It's really important we get the best out of him. He's a proven goalscorer, not just in the Premier League, you know, internationally, and in the Championship as well.
"But I don't want us to be over reliant on one person to score the goals. Goals have to come from all over the pitch. I want to see players chipping in. Yes, we've got to be better to create chances for him. We've got to feed him and we've got the players to do that as well. We know our productivity certainly has to be better.”
Much was made of Smith's decision to recall Billy Gilmour, and the Chelsea loanee grabbed the first Premier League assist of his career with the late corner crashed home by Grant Hanley.
“A terrific player but better than that is the attitude and character. He just loves football. He wants to be out there all the time,” said the new City chief. “He was watching our under-23s on Friday night. He was all over the pitch trying to drive the players on. A wonderful character, a wonderful player as well. He is very vital to us (for survival).
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"When you have a player with that talent on loan, our job is to try and get the best out of him and to utilise the strengths he has. He showed pockets of what he can do in the first half but that was harder because we didn’t see an awful lot of the ball. But he showed everyone what he can do in the second half.
“I’ve not said an awful lot to him, to be honest. I saw him play for Scotland during the last international period and he is a footballer. There is no denying that. I went to watch him in one of his first senior games for Chelsea, against Liverpool in the FA Cup, and he ran the show.”