Dons captain Joe Lewis insists they need to react to the sacking of Derek McInnes by targeting third place and the Scottish Cup.
McInnes and assistant manager Tony Docherty were dismissed by Aberdeen last week after two wins in 13 games in 2021 and one goal in nine matches.
Reds skipper Lewis and his team-mates return to action today against Dundee United at Tannadice with Paul Sheerin, Barry Robson and Neil Simpson in interim charge.
Aberdeen are six points behind Hibs in the race for third place and will face Huntly or Dumbarton in the third round of the Scottish Cup next month and Lewis is aiming for success on both fronts.
The goalkeeper was asked if the Dons’ poor form may be the result of a mentality problem and he said: “Well, we haven’t won enough games, so potentially.
“We’ve got some good players, certainly. We have a good squad.
“Whether it’s a mental thing, we’ll find out in the next six games, won’t we?
“We have to show a response to what has happened, to what has been asked of us by the new guys in charge.
“And show we deserve to finish third this season and the cup is there for whoever fancies it and whoever can hit that run of form in a condensed period.”
When a manager is sacked it’s sometimes said in the games that follow that players wish to justify their old boss’ faith in them by achieving positive results.
However, Lewis says his immediate focus is on trying to have a successful end to this season – starting against Dundee United this afternoon.
The Englishman, 34, added: “I don’t think that will necessarily be my motivation. My motivation will be third place and what that can bring us and the Scottish Cup which is a trophy.
“They’re my motivations, I can’t speak for everyone else, but I don’t think anyone is looking to try to vindicate anything.
“I think we’re looking to perform well on the pitch because there is a massive amount to play for this season, so hopefully we can look back at the season as a whole as successful one, whereas, right now it doesn’t feel like it has been.
“We’ve not put a run together, it’s hard to put a finger on why. With Paul coming in and trying to change a couple of things everyone’s focus has been on that really and trying to win the game against Dundee United.
“It’s a huge game for ourselves, it’s a big game for the supporters and we need to show the desire, the passion and composure to do what’s being asked of us.
“We’ve not had a great run of form throughout the season – now’s the time to do it.”
‘Probably a good thing’ Dons had time to adapt to post-McInnes and Docherty era
Lewis admits it has been strange adapting to life at Aberdeen post-McInnes and Docherty.
He said: “The way results have been and the way a lot of people have spoken it felt a surprise, but not really.
“It’s not my decision, it’s not anything we can control.
“So you just try and get on with things and react to the situation.
“It was probably a good thing we didn’t have a game last weekend, it gave everyone an opportunity to let the dust settle and take it all in.
“And it has given Paul, Barry and Simmy a good opportunity to get some fresh ideas across.
“It’s always a strange feeling when something like that happens. I’ve been through it before.
“Sometimes managers leave to go on to bigger and better things and it leaves a good bit of form behind them.
“In this case we have been through a rough spell where we have not scored enough goals and not played well enough as a team to do as well as we should have.
“It’s always a difficult feeling, and everyone has respect for Derek and Tony for what they have done for this football club and certainly what they did for me and my career.
“It’s a tinge of sadness, but we move on and we still have a massive amount to play for.”
McInnes signed Lewis in the summer of 2016 and he says he’ll always be grateful to his former manager for bringing him to Pittodrie.
Lewis said: “When I signed for this club my career wasn’t going anywhere.
“I needed to find my way and get going again and Derek and Tony gave me that opportunity. I’ll always be grateful for that.
“But I’m keen not to dwell too much on the past now. We had last week to put that all away.
“There is still such an opportunity for this squad to achieve something this season,
“And turn a season, which has been very disappointing so far, into something really, really positive.”