Dutch playmaker Vicente Besuijen has vowed Aberdeen will entertain this season in the bid for European qualification.
The 21-year-old netted a double in the 5-0 defeat of Stirling Albion as the Dons maintained a winning start to their League Cup campaign.
Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin has rebuilt the squad at a cost in excess of £1 million during the summer transfer window.
Since his arrival in mid February, 15 players have left Pittodrie while seven new signings have been secured – with up to three more to come. Goodwin still aims to sign a winger, No.10 and attacking midfielder before the summer transfer window shuts.
Besuijen insists the extensive and ongoing rebuild represents a new dawn for every player.
And the new-look Reds intend to make it count by entertaining supporters and delivering Euro qualification.
Besuijen said: “Is it a fresh start for everyone? Yes.
“I think the fans who back us up feel it, too. They are supporting us and that’s what we need.
“We want to repay them after last season.
“Everyone at the club knows last season wasn’t good enough and we want to get Aberdeen back to where they belong.
“We have to play good, attractive football and give people a show.
“Aberdeen are one of the biggest clubs in Scotland, that’s who we are.
“Is top six and European football the aim? Of course.”
‘We feel more like a family this year’
The Dons have netted nine goals and are yet to concede, albeit against lower league opposition Stirling, Dumbarton and Peterhead.
Besuijen insists the unity, on and off the pitch, fostered within the revamped squad, has been fundamental to the positive start to the campaign.
He said: “Everyone wants the same things and we are hungry for the season ahead.
“We have a group who are friends as well as team-mates.
“That has made it easier for the new boys to integrate – we feel more like a family this year.
“We want to win every game and we have a good squad of players.
“Everyone wants to improve and we are working hard in training.
“You can see that paying off on the pitch, which is what you want.”
Besuijen shines in No.10 role
Besuijen was secured in a £420,000 transfer from Dutch second-tier ADO Den Haag in the January window. He penned a four-and-a-half year contract.
Despite impressing in the second half of last season, it was not enough to prevent the Dons finishing a lowly 10th in the Premiership.
In recent games, Besuijen has been utilised by boss Goodwin in a No.10 role, which offers more freedom to express his talents.
Goodwin has, however, admitted he aims to sign a No.10 before the summer transfer window closes at the end of August.
Besuijen insists he doesn’t care which role he plays – all that matters is he gets on the ball and has the scope to show his creativity.
He said: “I like playing in the No10 position, but it doesn’t matter where I play, I just want the ball.
“The gaffer has given me a free role and the boys know where I want the ball.
“With the wingers, we rotate at times and I am showing my best form.
“I have a good relationship with the boys at the top end of the park.
“I know what I can do on the ball for the team to help us.
“In January, I came in and it was a hard time for everyone.
“I settled in okay, but it is good to be back to winning ways and we have more of the ball now.
“Hopefully I can still be a threat in the coming games.
“I can’t do it alone and it is nice the boys see that I can help us win games – but we do it together.”
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Denied a first Aberdeen hat-trick
Besuijen was denied a hat-trick against Stirling when a shot beat the keeper but rattled off the woodwork.
The victory against Albion also marked the debut of new signing Luis Lopes.
Striker Lopes was introduced at the start of the second half.
Secured for a six-figure sum from Benfica on a three-year deal, Lopes was denied a goal on his debut when a shot cracked off a post.
Besuijen said: “I was unlucky with the shot that hit the post for my hat-trick.
“The team played well and we have won three games in a row, which feels good.
“We are getting better every game so we have to be happy with that”
The drive to keep improving
Aberdeen are three points clear at the top of the Premier Sports Cup group A following three wins from three.
The Dons are three points, and three goals, ahead of second-placed Raith Rovers, who travel to Pittodrie on Sunday.
Besuijen accepts that there are far tougher tests ahead, particularly the Premiership opener against champions Celtic at Parkhead on Sunday July 31.
He said: “We will see where we are at against Celtic, but we have one more game first.
“It is important we keep improving to get to where we want to be.
“We have to take it one game at a time and what happens against Celtic will happen.
“We have to keep performing at a high level and if we do that then we can have a good season.”