Norwich striker Teemu Pukki says it is an honour to be named the Premier League Player of the Month for August. Finland international Pukki, who finished as the leading scorer in the Championship last season, has picked up where he left off in the Premier League with Norwich this term, scoring five goals and providing one assist from his four top-flight appearances during August, the highlight being his hat-trick in the 3-1 home success over Newcastle.
Pukki beat off competition from Manchester City trio Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, Burnley forward Ashley Barnes and Roberto Firmino of Liverpool to scoop the top accolade and he has also become the first Norwich player to ever receive the honour.
There had been doubts as to whether Pukki could make the step up to Premier League level and the 29-year-old admits he could not have envisaged how well he has taken to life in the top-flight, although he never doubted his ability to find the back of the net.
Speaking to canaries.co.uk, Pukki said: “It’s a big honour. It’s been a great start to the season so I’m really happy about it and we now need to start getting more points. “I believed in myself that I could score goals at this level but I never thought I would score five in the first four games. It’s much more than I thought I would get.”
Pukki has also become just the third Finish player to pick up the accolade, following in the footsteps of former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia who claimed the award with Liverpool in 1999, and forward Mikael Forssell, whose honour came five years later while he was playing for Birmingham.
Pukki, who also scored twice for Finland during the international break to further boost their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020, knows he can’t take all the credit for his early-season exploits, as they would not have been possible without the help of his team-mates. “I couldn’t have won this award without my teammates,” he added. “They’ve been giving me lots of good assists and I really need to say a big thanks to all of those guys.”
Norwich will return to domestic action after the international break when they welcome champions Manchester City to Carrow Road on Saturday and if Pukki were to net against the Citizens then it would mean he will have already scored against last season’s top three in the Premier League.