June 20, 2024

Norwich City: Finland striker Teemu Pukki on tough Championship finale

Teemu Pukki wants ‘to get the fire back’ after admitting he did not enjoy his Norwich City swansong season.

The prolific striker bowed out at the end of a Championship campaign that ended in 13th on an emotional final day against Blackpool.

Pukki was unable to add to his 88 goals in 210 appearances during an era-defining spell that brought two league titles, two double figure goal returns in the Premier League and a stack of individual awards.

The 33-year-old free agent returned to competitive action with a brace of assists in Finland’s 2-0 Euro2024 win over Slovenia on Friday, and will finalise his club future after Tuesday’s qualifier against San Marino.

MLS club Minnesota United appear to be leading the chase along with interest in England, France, Germany and Turkey.

“I didn’t really enjoy football this season. I hope the next move means that I get the fire back. It was a difficult season,” he said. “There is no single country that I would like to go to. I’ve already experienced quite a lot of European leagues. Let’s see what offers come from there. I am open to almost all kinds of offers. Certainly playing outside of Europe would be an option.

“I want to enjoy my football. Of course the fact that there is a team where I can play with my own strengths has an effect on that. Money is one thing. This is the last big deal I will do. As a family person, where we go is very important.

“It was good to be in Norwich. The children had a good time. Of course that helped too. I was able to focus on football and family life. There are certainly many good environments.

“One deal somewhere, and then I’ll see if I still have the energy to come back to the fields in Finland.”

Pukki is keen to finish where he started his playing days in his homeland, but Finland’s record goalscorer also wants to fire his country back to the Euros.

“I want to get to the European Championships again and play better than last time,” he said, in a wide-ranging interview with Finnish publisher Helsingin Sanomat. “I would really like to fight for the next place. That would be great.”


Scotland hero Kenny McLean stuns Norway as he admits “results like this make hard work worthwhile” on 30th cap

The 31-year-old Norwich City midfielder bagged the winning goal in Oslo last night

Cambuslang’s Kenny McLean was the hero for Scotland last night in Euro 2024 qualifying, as his last-gasp winner against Erling Haaland’s Norway helped complete a dramatic late comeback for the ages.

Manchester City’s superstar treble winner Haaland had put the hosts in front with just over 20 minutes remaining in Oslo, leaving Scotland staring at their first defeat of the European Qualifying campaign after openings wins over Spain and Cyprus.

But in the 87th minute Lyndon Dykes poked home an equaliser and then substitute McLean popped up two minutes later to stroke home a right-footed shot into the bottom corner from a Dykes lay-off, sending the stunned Tartan Army into raptures.

It keeps Scotland’s 100 per cent record at the top of Group A intact, ahead of second-place Georgia visiting Hampden on Tuesday night.

And 31-year-old matchwinner McLean told Sky Sports: “Goals change games and they did for us. We were hanging in at the end.

“The lads who played 90 minutes out there, I don’t know how they did it.

“I was sitting in the dugout sweating. Just watching it I was knackered.

“We’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks, results like this make it worthwhile.

“We’re in a decent position, but we want to be in an even better position. It’s quite hard to put into words just now.

“It’s a good feeling, especially being the winner.

“The lads did so much, and we made the changes and got some momentum after the first goal.

“The character to come back from that is outstanding. I think we can still do better with the ball. But listen, I’ll take that all day.”

Steve Clarke’s Scotland side sit five points clear of Georgia and six ahead of Spain, having played a game more.

A victory over Georgie would see the team edge closer to booking their place on the plane to Germany next summer.

But Norwich City midfielder McLean, who replaced Ryan Porteous after 79 minutes to win a milestone 30th cap, isn’t getting complacent.

He added: “It was a massive step for us in the group but we have a lot of work to do and we have a game in a few days.

“We will enjoy this now but we need to go and recover. Nobody wants to hear it but that’s what we have to do.”

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