Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes his “need to have the game of our lives” against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the Europa League tonight.
The match will go ahead after no further positive tests were reported among the Sporting squad yesterday and despite their opponents being without nine players and their manager Ruben Amorim due to the coronavirus McInnes is no doubt the Dons face a monumental task in Lisbon.
He said: “We need to have the game of our lives. We need to do so many things right and get the balance between defence and attack.
“We need to be able to land some blows but also need full concentration as we will be against a team who are well drilled and have a lot of speed and power.
“They are experienced in the right areas and have talented youngsters. You see the size of their squad and the level of player they have.
“They are a top European side.”
McInnes is thrilled to have the opportunity on a household European name in Sporting but tonight’s match at the 52,000 capacity Jose Alavade Stadium is not the height of Aberdeen’s ambitions.
With home advantage for next week’s play-off awaiting the winners of tonight’s tie McInnes is daring to dream of a Pittodrie shootout against either LASK or Dunajska Streda next week.
He said: “In terms of setting about the challenge it is exciting.
“We were desperate this time last week to face them and told the players to make sure they are on that plane to take on Sporting Lisbon.
“It is not every year you can say that in your career you are playing against Sporting Lisbon.
“The staff here are trying to get a handle on them to try to give the players the best chance to win the game and make it a memorable night.
“It is 90 minutes, cup football and we have a chance there is no doubt about that.
“That is the way we are looking at it.”
The Dons boss, who compared Sporting to former Europa League opponents Real Sociedad, added: “We all recognize and look at other opponents we could have had in terms of giving us the best chance to progress.
“However this is one of Europe’s marquee clubs and we have the opportunity to take them on.
“Like any cup competition you normally have to play a stronger opponent as you get through.
“That is the case tonight and if we can beat a team like Sporting Lisbon and have a home tie next week it will give us unbelievable confidence going into that game at Pittodrie next week.
“That is what is at stake for us and we will try to take that opportunity.”
Dean Campbell has not travelled after breaking a metatarsal which will keep him out for four to six weeks while striker Curtis Main has also remained in Aberdeen after suffering a recurrence of his thigh injury.