Ex-HJK Helsinki youngster Richard Jensen described Aberdeen’s Europa Conference League points return as “sickening” ahead of his homecoming on Thursday night.
The Dons will meet HJK at the Bolt Arena in their penultimate Group G fixture.
Neither side can progress from a section where Eintracht Frankfurt and PAOK are battling it out for the top-two places.
HJK are bottom of the section with a solitary point.
Aberdeen, meanwhile, are third with two points from a 1-1 home draw with HJK and 2-2 stalemate at PAOK, having also suffered a gut-wrenching 3-2 Pittodrie defeat to the Greek group G leaders at Pittodrie and close-run 2-1 loss in Frankfurt.
However, frustrated Jensen, 27, thinks – with a few key moments going in their favour across all four games so far – the Reds could have had more points on the board, having produced “some incredible performances”.
The Finnish international – whose unfortunate slip sparked PAOK’s comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in the Granite City in October – said: “It has been sickening. We have had some incredible performances, but haven’t really got the results we perhaps deserved.
“Have we lacked luck? I don’t know, (with) luck – you sometimes have it and sometimes you don’t, so I can’t say much more about that.
“Did I feel unlucky with the slip against PAOK? I dunno. On the other hand you are there on the pitch trying to win the games and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.
“We did our best, but just didn’t succeed. We should have done something perhaps slightly differently to avoid that, but it didn’t happen.
“Now we’re trying to get our first win.
“We have learned from this experience, definitely. You are seeing us grow from week to week. We are starting to perform as a good team and we’re showing that.
“I think we’re showing it internationally, domestically and in the (League) cup as well.”
In the earlier Pittodrie draw with HJK, Jensen suffered a cut above one of his eyes which required bandaging (and subsequently stitches) in another moment of Euro ill-fortune.
The centre-half was able to continue, but first had to go down the tunnel for treatment – a prolonged first half period which allowed the Finnish champions to get a foothold in the game. HJK would then take the lead through Bojan Radulovic early in the second half.
Aberdeen earned a point through a late Bojan Miovski header, before Duk failed to take a gilt-edged chance to win the game.
Jensen thinks the Dons showed they can overcome their rivals in Thursday’s Helsinki return.
He said: “HJK are a very skilful and disciplined team, we saw that in the first game.
“We had a good game against them and I think we had enough chances to beat them.
“Hopefully we can do that in Helsinki now.
“I’m fully focused on beating them tomorrow.”
‘What’s the worst conditions I’ve played in? I don’t know, all conditions are football conditions’
Much has been made of the perishing conditions in the Finnish capital at present, but Jensen, having grown up 20 miles from Helsinki in Porvoo, and having spent time in HJK’s youth ranks, does not think snowy conditions can be an excuse for either team.
He said: “The Finns won’t like the cold either, so it’s not an advantage. There’s nothing further I can tell my team-mates, really.
“What’s the worst conditions I’ve played in? I don’t know, all conditions are football conditions.
“We just have to do our best and make sure the three points travel back to Aberdeen.”
Jensen: Nice to be back in Finland and see friends and family – but win would not be extra special
HJK boss Toni Korkeakunnas revealed in his own pre-match press conference he has been trying to wind up Jensen – who he knows well from the Finland national set-up – with updates on the weather.
Jensen has taken the HJK gaffer’s jokes with good humour.
But, while he pleased to have the chance to interact with friends, and to combine a Euro fixture with seeing his homeland and family, the defender doesn’t think a win on Thursday will be “extra-special” for him.
He added: “He (Korkeakunnas) sent me a video of the snowy pitch, it was just a healthy bit of banter.
“It’s nice to come back and the weather is lovely – we saw the snowy landscape from the aeroplane.
“I represented HJK before I left for my career abroad, I got my skills here so I am very proud and grateful for what they gave me here.
“But there is no extra-special win here compared to anywhere else, they are all just as important.
“I will have some family here, for sure, so, yeah, it will be nice to see them.”