Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield is targeting a lengthy run in Europe with the Dons this season after insisting last year’s campaign helped the team come of age.
Derek McInnes’ team reached the third qualifying round before succumbing to Spanish La Liga side Real Sociedad but Langield believes the European run was a huge learning curve for the players and hopes to show the Dons have learned from the experience of a year ago.
He said: “Being in Europe got the players and the supporters really up. It was beneficial to us and hopefully we can replicate the success we had last season.
“The manager and coaching staff learned from it and the players certainly did. Hopefully, pre-season won’t be as hard because we are straight back into it. I am sure we will be ready to go and hopefully it will lead to another European run.
“It could be totally different this year although when we got Groningen and Real Sociedad we certainly never got the best of draws.
“They were four really hard games and then it takes you a couple of games to get going again in the league. Thankfully, we came of age and kicked on.”
A second successive European campaign means another short break for the Dons with the first time squad returning for training tomorrow. Thurs
Langfield, who is in his testimonial season with the club, insists the chance to play European teams more than compensates for the lack of rest in between the domestic seasons.
He said: “We set off at the start of every season to try to do really well in the league and to try and get into European football.
“People complain that it is a short break but it was the same last year but, as player, we aren’t going to grumble because it is another chance to play in Europe again.
“We saw what happened in the games against Groningen and Real Sociedad and these are the type of games we want to play in and hopefully we can do that in the new season.”
Reaching the group stages of the Europa League would represent progress for the Dons this summer but Langfield, who played in the group stages with Aberdeen in the 2007-08 season, knows reaching the group stage is far tougher than it was eight years ago.
Despite a tough draw against Panathinaikos, Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Moscow and Copenhagen, the Dons progressed to the last 32 before being eliminated by Bayern Munich.
The Dons goalkeeper, who will find out on Monday who his club will face in the first qualifying round, said: “We got into the group stages of the Europa League but we only had to win one qualifying round. That was against Dnipro.
“It was a hard game and we watched the game a few weeks ago and they were playing in the final of the Europa League.
“It shows how far they have come. We got past them and got bombarded in one of the hardest groups but we want to pit our wits against the top teams.”