Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes wants more aggression, more impetus and more of a cutting edge from his side as his side mount a Europa League rescue act tomorrow.
The Dons trail Croatian side HNK Rijeka 2-0 following their first leg defeat last week and McInnes knows his side must dig deep and rediscover their goalscoring form if they are to have any hope of reaching the play-off round of the Europa League for the first time in his reign.
The Dons have scored 10 goals in their three home matches so far but have drawn a blank in their last two away games and the Aberdeen manager knows the goals must flow again tomorrow or his side’s European campaign will be over.
He said: “We have got it all to do. The onus is on us to go and show more of an attacking threat. Our best players in the first leg were defenders and while we need them to retain that we need more output in the forward areas.
“Rijeka are a good side. They are up there with the top one or two teams in the Croatian league. They have a good European pedigree and are a tough nut to crack.
“We need an early goal to get the crowd right behind us and ask questions of the opposition.”
The Dons looked weary from their trip to Croatia in the first half of Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by St Mirren in Paisley.
With leading goalscorer Sam Cosgrove absent due to a tight hamstring and Niall McGinn and Jon Gallagher restricted to substitute roles against Jim Goodwin’s side the Dons toiled in the driving rain in a disappointing first half.
McInnes was pleased to see more urgency in his team’s play in the second half even if it did not produce an equaliser but is disappointed to suffer a first domestic defeat.
He said: “We are always at our most vulnerable after a European away game and we wanted freshness in the team on Sunday.
“A lot of players were back out again after playing in Croatia. We wanted to make sure while we are in Europe it doesn’t have any real bearing on our league form.
“There was far more impetus and aggression in the second half because we needed it but I wanted more of that in the first half.
“We tried everything to make it go our way, the supporters stayed with the team, and we believed there was a goal in it for us but we didn’t do enough in the forward areas.
“We are going to have to get a bit more of an attacking threat going on Thursday but we have had that so far at Pittodrie and been very good in the three home game so far.”