Qarabag manager Gurban Gurbanov has told his players they will need to raise their game in Aberdeen if they want to progress to the group stage of the UEFA Conference League.
Gurbanov is pleased to have an advantage but expects a physical test from the Dons in Aberdeen.
He said: “We did not play well but we controlled the game. They used long balls a lot but we were prepared for it.
“We will be facing a physically strong opponent and we have to put more effort on the road against a good team.
“Patience is very important in the game. I called on the players to be careful. Aberdeen is physically strong and use long balls. But they also like to play with the ball.”
Dons boss Stephen Glass labelled the pitch at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium a disgrace and Gurbanov has hinted his club may look to move their home games if they reach the group stages and the pitch has not improved.
He said: “The pitch hindered both teams. The condition of the field was the same for both sides.
“We set up a game according to the field and we won. Every year at this time there is a problem with the grass.
“There will be a long break after the return match. After that, the condition of the field should improve. If we face a problem, we can think of any change.”
Qarabag boss ready for passionate Pittodrie
Aberdeen boss Glass has called for Dons fans to fill Pittodrie as the club bids to reach the group stages of European football for the first time in 14 years.
Gurbanov is in no doubt about the importance of this game but insists his players are ready for the challenge.
He said: “It is clear from the opponent’s statements that they are very confident, they want to win. It is because they believe in their strength.
“Despite holding the first game at home, everything will be clear in the return match. We have to be very patient so that we can use the gaps given by the opponent.
“They were good physically, they were dangerous in standard situations. They like to play with the ball. They have very comfortable scoring skills.
“Sometimes they can create a goal episode out of nothing. They like to fight. We must be careful in everything.
“They are able to make the most of each opportunity so we must be careful.”
Qarabag warmed up for their trip to Scotland by beating Sabail 3-0 in the Azerbaijani Premier League on Sunday.
Gurbanov rotated his squad for the game but central defender Kevin Medina, who faced the Dons, was withdrawn with an injury while Richard Almeida, who was on the bench last week, was also substituted.
The Qarabag boss said: “It is not easy to prepare for games in a busy schedule. One gets injured, one gets tired, but I think they will recover and will be more comfortable.
“The situation with Medina will be clarified, there was a problem with the muscle.
“Almeida had a problem with fatigue. He didn’t play for a long time. It had nothing to do with the tone of the game, there was a feeling of tightness.”