Boss Derek McInnes insists the Dons’ Euro target remains the group stages despite landing Premier League Burnley.
McInnes reckons the English Premier League Clarets are the Reds’ toughest test yet in five years of European football under his management – even more problematic than La Liga’s Real Sociedad in 2014.
Aberdeen are rated as underdogs for the Battle of Britain and that is a tag the Pittodrie manager accepts against a side who finished seventh in the top flight.
Yet nothing has changed with his aspirations despite landing a side from the richest league in world football.
Burnley spent £15 million last summer to land striker Chris Wood from Leeds and, bolstered by £119.8m in Premiership payments, boss Sean Dyche has indicated they aim to strengthen before facing the Dons on July 26.
The £3m for reaching the Europa League group stages is small fry in comparison.
However, it is big money for the Reds and that is where McInnes aims to lead his side.
When asked if the Europa League group stages remain the target, McInnes said: “Yes. Of course.
“With Burnley we are playing a team you would expect to meet in the group stages.
“Instead we are playing them in the second qualifying round.
“That is unusual and obviously problematic for us.
“It is not the draw we would have wanted.
“But we have to try to find ways to overcome them.
“I totally understand why Burnley are huge favourites – because they are.
“However, we will be as competitive as ever and try to find a way to win the tie.”
Under McInnes the Dons have previously overturned the odds in Europe.
In 2014 they defeated Dutch side Groningen 2-1 away from home to progress and the following season beat Rijeka 3-0 in Croatia.
It was the first time in more than a year Rijeka had lost at home.
Despite those results Aberdeen have yet to make it to the group stages.
They have lost out at the third qualifying round in the previous four seasons, to Real Sociedad (2014), Kairat Almaty (2015), Maribor (2016) and, last term, Apollon Limassol.
However, should the Reds overcome Burnley the route to the groups could open up as Aberdeen will take on their seeded status.
McInnes said: “While it is a tough tie and we understand the challenge, it is still games we will relish.
“We want to get right in among it and try to overcome Burnley.”
Under McInnes the Reds are set to compete in Europe for a fifth successive season.
In contrast the Clarets have qualified for Europe for the first time in 51 years.
McInnes’ debut campaign in Europe saw them progress to the third qualifying round where they faced La Liga side Real Sociedad.
Aberdeen lost 2-0 in Spain before a 3-2 defeat in the Granite City.
Just weeks after knocking the Reds out of Europe, Sociedad defeated reigning Champions League holders Real Madrid 4-2 domestically.
McInnes reckons his side face a team potentially stronger than Sociedad to reach the third qualifying round and keep hopes of the group stages alive.
He said: “Real Sociedad were a very good side.
“They finished sixth or seventh in the Spanish league to get into Europe.
“Burnley are just as tough – if not tougher – when you look at the league they come out of and the level of player they have.
“We have to hit the ground running against them – we have to have that performance straight away.
“In the past we did well building on it, from Groningen to Sociedad, but this time we have to be at it for the first game.”
This will be McInnes’ 12th Euro tie as Aberdeen manager and the majority of his squad have also played on that stage.
In contrast Burnley are entering Euro competition for the first time since 1967.
“The experience we have had in Europe should help us a lot,” he said.
“We have fallen at that third-round hurdle every year but we have also beaten some good teams every season.
“This year will be the toughest test, going into a game like Burnley as the first one back.
“Sometimes you get lucky in the first and second rounds, you get a team of the level where you know you can get past them.
“In the past we have improved massively from one match to the next in Europe.”
Aberdeen are set to face Cove Rangers on Sunday before the last of five pre-season friendlies against West Brom at Pittodrie on Friday July 20.
They had been scheduled to play Inverness Caley Thistle yesterday but that game was cancelled due to injury concerns with the Reds.
Republic of Ireland international Stephen Gleeson sustained a knee injury against St Johnstone.
Striker Sam Cosgrove was taken off in the game against Saints having sustained a knock to his calf.
Summer signing Chris Forrester missed that game with a groin injury. There are just two weeks until the Dons face Burnley in Europe.
McInnes said: “In previous years the whole focus of pre-season has been getting them ready for those early European games.
“This year we have been able to do the kind of work that gets you ready for a whole campaign.
“Now we know we’re playing against a team from the English Premier League those extra matches are a necessity.
“Every training session is a step towards where we want to be in that first game.”