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Jul 16, 2014

McInnes wary of Groningen

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Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has told his men to brace themselves for a much tougher test against Groningen in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

The Dons crushed Latvian minnows Daugava Riga 8-0 over two legs in the first round, but Pittodrie manager McInnes is under no illusions about the standard of the Dutch play-off winners.

Erwin van de Looi's side claimed their European slot by beating AZ Alkmaar 3-0 on aggregate.

They also held champions Ajax to a score draw at home at the start of last season before going on to beat PSV Eindhoven home and away.

McInnes told RedTV ahead of Thursday night's Granite City clash: "No disrespect to Riga, but this is a big step up.

"We were very professional in our last two ties against the Latvians and did what had to be done.

"We did it with a lot of confidence and a bit of style as well, while the amount of goals we scored was an added bonus as well.

"But we go into Groningen game in good heart and I think it is important we go in feeling good about ourselves, because they are a team who have recorded some big results in their own league.

"They look like a team that is improving as well. If you look at the way they finished the season, I'm sure they would expect to do even better this time.

"Any team that got the results they did last season deserve every respect but I think there is a feeling from our side that we can step up again."

Groningen's line-up has few big names but they will pin their hopes on 23-year-old former Fulham striker Daniel Hoesen after his switch from Ajax.

McInnes added: "They have got some very talented players at the front end of the pitch, some very dependable players in the middle and as an all-round team they epitomise what you think of Dutch football.

"They like to make the pitch big and are very comfortable in possession of the ball.

"So we have got to be very good when we don't have the ball and when we do have possession, we need to make them work too."

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