Evening Express

We’re ready to draw first blood down in Lancashire and put the pressure on them, says McGinn

Niall McGinn receives instructions from boss Derek McInnes against Burnley

Winger Niall McGinn is determined to draw first blood at Turf Moor to pile the pressure on Euro rookies Burnley.

The Premier League Clarets have gained the edge in the Europa League second qualifying round by claiming a vital away goal in the 1-1 draw at Pittodrie.

Conceding that goal means Aberdeen must score in the return leg next week to have any hope of progressing to meet Istanbul Basaksehir in the next phase.

McGinn saw enough in the first leg to convince him the Reds can not only create chances against a defence boasting England internationals but also take them to turn the tie on its head in front of a sellout crowd.

The 31-year-old said: “We know if we can go down to Turf Moor and score the first goal it puts the pressure back on Burnley again.

“It will be a tough 90 minutes at Burnley but we know that we can definitely cause them problems.

“We go down there with confidence because we created chances and had a lot of good moments in the game.

“We have got to be proud of our performance.

“It is only half time in the tie and all still to play for.”

Bookmakers have Burnley at 4-11 odds-on favourites to triumph in the second leg.

Aberdeen have to negotiate the tightrope of keeping tight defensively whilst also having to find the back of the net.

McGinn reckons the Reds are in familiar territory in having to overturn the odds in a European away trip.

He points to the wins over Rijeka (3-0) and Groningen (2-1) in recent seasons as evidence Aberdeen can produce the goods away from home on the continental stage when the pressure is on.

He said: “We have shown in our European adventures over the years what we can do away from home by going to places like Rijeka and Groningen and getting wins.

“We have to take the experience from the big European nights away from home where we have done well in the past.

“Hopefully that can help us in progressing.

“To get past Burnley would be a brilliant achievement for us.”

Much has been made of the financial chasm between both Aberdeen and Burnley and the Scottish top flight and the English Premier League.

However, McGinn reckons the Dons’ organisation, commitment and game plan were a great leveller against a team that had eight internationals in the starting lineup at Pittodrie.

After the first leg McGinn insists there is no way Burnley will underestimate the Reds’ threat. “There is a massive gulf between the Scottish Premiership and the English Premier League,” he said.

“However, on the back of our performance I don’t think you could really tell much difference.

“Obviously there is the financial difference where you are playing against players who are on big money and have had big moves.

“We are playing against experienced international players who perform in the English Premier League week-in week-out. However, to a man we all gave a good account of ourselves.

“After our performance we know Burnley will not take us too lightly in the second leg.”

For McGinn one of the keys to getting the right result at Turf Moor will be in having more composure in possession. He feels the Reds were too rushed in their play at times.

“We all knew our jobs as we had been working on it,” he explained.

“Burnley are an English Premier League side so they are going to have more possession than us.

“They are a team full of good players and will get the ball wide and put crosses into the box.

“However, to a man we worked so hard and defended really well.

“We deservedly went in front from scoring the penalty which put us into half-time feeling good about ourselves.

“There were moments in the first and second half where we could have kept the ball a bit more.

“We maybe rushed towards their goal too quickly at times but we will learn from our mistakes.

“We will learn from the first tie and go down there to give our all.”

McGinn admits he faced a sweat to be fit for the first leg clash with Burnley with a thigh strain that ruled him out of the 1-1 friendly draw with West Brom.

Asked if there was a concern he may not make the Burnley tie, he said: “Yes, there probably was. I hadn’t trained much in the last two and a half weeks but have been working hard with the medical staff.

“I trained fully with the team in the two days before the Burnley game.

“I was delighted I was able to last as long as I did as it was a hard shift.

“That can only help me and stand me in good stead when we play them at Turf Moor in the return leg next week.”