Derek McInnes has revealed he ordered his Aberdeen players to practise penalties as he leaves nothing to chance ahead of their Europa League return against Groningen tonight.
The Dons were held to a goalless draw by the Dutch outfit at Pittodrie last Thursday, in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie. And the League Cup-winning boss has ensured his men are prepared in case another blank stalemate requires spot-kicks to find a winner.
“It’s very finely poised,” he said. “Nil-nil wasn’t the perfect result for us at home, but it’s not a bad result either, It’s very important not to concede at home. It’s game on and both teams will feel they can win this tie.
“We have practised penalties. We have a team who are fit and strong and we feel they can play 120 minutes if need be, even at this stage of the season. We’ll be ready to do whatever it takes to try to get the result.”
Should Aberdeen overcome last year’s Dutch play-off winners, they will take on Spanish side Real Sociedad. But McInnes is confident of his side’s chances after they avoided gifting Groningen an away goal in the Granite City.
“We won at every league ground last season bar one and had a lot of big results as an away team,” he said. “We’re very confident playing away from home. I certainly feel that we can create chances and we can certainly score – if we can score, it’s a huge advantage for us.
“It will take a big performance from us to progress, but it’s certainly not beyond us. . . from our point of view, it’s finely poised. I don’t expect them to take us lightly and, if they do, they’ll be out of the tournament.
“I feel there’s mutual respect there, you won’t get any of my players dismissing Groningen, they’re a good side, but we’re confident in our abilities.”