Aberdeen shut out the noise on way to six victories in a row

Derek McInnes hails his players’ focus in recovering from opening-day loss

Friday, 18th September 2020, 11:00 pm
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, enjoying a laugh during training, wants as many Scottish clubs as possible to do well in Europe. Picture: Getty.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, enjoying a laugh during training, wants as many Scottish clubs as possible to do well in Europe. Picture: Getty.

Look at the form guide and it would appear that everything has been relatively plain sailing for Aberdeen since their opening-day defeat by 
Rangers.

It was a difficult start but if the results that have followed, in the league and in Europe, have painted a picture of contentment, they haven’t told the whole story.

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Refusing to let that loss to their old foes set the tone for their campaign, they have bounced back, winning their next six in all competitions, absorbing the absence of key personnel to injury and the ill-advised and widely-vilified coronavirus incident.

Those actions contributed to the stop-start nature of their schedule, the lengthy lulls and the consequential clustering of fixtures. That continuity was hindered further by the international break. But through it all, the Pittodrie side have illustrated the strength and depth in the squad and the ability to shut out the noise and focus on the matter in hand.

“When you think of where we were after the first game of the season the players deserve so much credit for the way they have responded,” said manager Derek McInnes.

“Some games we have had to dig it out and in others we have played really well.

“We have been really solid, we’ve had a good platform to build on and have carried a threat going forward.

“We have lost only two goals in seven games so there has been a lot to be pleased about.

“It was a short flight home on Thursday, which you are always grateful for, but we will maybe freshen the team up for Sunday. We will look at that over the next couple of days.

“Winning six games in a row is good and the players have put a lot of work in to do that.

“The challenge now is to make it seven and keep that momentum we’ve built up going.

“It was good to see Motherwell go through as well because you want as many Scottish representatives in the next round as possible.

“They haven’t had the best start to the season in the league but they are a good side, everyone knows that.

“Stephen has a lot of good players so it was a surprise they struggled to get going but I think everyone expected them to pick up.

“They won last weekend in the league and they went through on Thursday, so they will come to us looking to get more momentum behind them.”

Meanwhile, Scott Wright is enjoying his football so much he has no need to look beyond his next game.

The Dons have a mouth-watering Europa League tie against Sporting Lisbon to come next Thursday after beating Viking Stavanger 2-0 in Norway on Thursday night.

But Wright is not going to wish the games away and look ahead to Portugal, where the winners will set up a home play-off against Austrians Lask or Dunajska Streda of Slovakia.

“It was the glamour tie when the draw was made but we just focused on the game against Viking to make sure we got through that,” the 23-year-old said. “A lot of people were speaking about Sporting Lisbon before we even played the game on Thursday night but in-house we knew we had a game to play before we got to Sporting and it as important we dealt with that. Now it’s important we concentrate on the game on Sunday.”

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