BK Hacken v Aberdeen: Barry Robson insists pressure still on in Europa League play-off

Aberdeen train in Sweden
A large Aberdeen squad travelled to Sweden for the tie
Venue: Bravida Arena, Gothenburg Date: Thursday, 24 August Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland Extra/DAB/810MW, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson has rubbished talk that the pressure on their Europa League tie with BK Hacken has been reduced by the fact they are guaranteed group stage football.

The Premiership side take on the Swedish champions on Thursday in the Europa League play-off. A place in the group stages awaits the winner, with the loser dropping into the same stage of the Conference League.

“We want to play at the highest level possible,” Robson said.

“The boys did extremely well to have a bit of safety behind them but we are not here to just think ‘oh right, we are going to go into the other European competition’. We want to try and get through and play some big, big teams.

“We are hoping we can bring something to the table, perform as well as we can, and make sure that we can take a decent result going in to the second leg.”

Robson, though, is under no illusions about the size of the task his side face.

After winning the title last season, the free-scoring Swedes are currently just a point off the top this time round after 20 rounds of fixtures.

Aberdeen took care of Thursday’s hosts in the Conference League qualifiers two years ago, winning the first leg 5-1 at Pittodrie, before losing 2-0 away.

However, Hacken boss Per-Mathias Hogmo – who oversaw those two games – insists what happened then will have no bearing on the outcome this time round.

“We had a good game at home here last time, but that is history,” he said. “It is two new teams now, both have a lot of changes. There is one player left in Aberdeen and we have three players left.

“It is always motivating to play teams like Aberdeen with their great history and we will put all we can to get to the group stages for the Europa League.”

Team news

Jamie McGrath has made the trip after signing for Aberdeen earlier in the week. And, despite his lack of recent game time, Robson says he will have “no qualms” about pitching him in.

The Premiership side have a number of players in their squad at varying levels of match fitness, but Robson has decided to bring them all to Sweden because he “wanted us all to be together”.

He added: “We are all going to be in this tournament and I think it is going to be important that we all know what it takes – the travelling, the flying, the atmospheres.

“I wanted to make sure that every member of my squad was here with us, whether they are at 100% , 80% or 70%, so that is why everyone has travelled.”

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