Dons boss Derek McInnes insists his side will improve in the coming weeks after getting past Dundee in the Betfred Cup.
It was far from a perfect Aberdeen performance at Dens Park on Sunday, but they got through to the League Cup quarter-final after a 2-1 victory.
The result ended a run of three straight defeats: two to Rijeka in the Europa League third qualifying round, and a loss to St Mirren in the Premiership.
Reds gaffer McInnes believes their displays have been poor of late because of their exertions in Europe and is confident they will improve in the coming weeks.
He said: “It’s a tough question (why performances have been flat). Last week we came back from Rijeka at 4am.
“St Mirren had all week to prepare and we didn’t have the luxury and I made changes to bring freshness, but a couple of boys looked a bit rusty.
“We were worthy of a point at St Mirren, we weren’t good enough to get all three, but we deserved something and then our focus was on the Euro game.
“Everybody turned up for the big yee-ha to try to get the deficit overturned and the game was over after 20 minutes and all of a sudden I’m thinking of Dundee, trying to keep players fresh and keep Cosgrove fresh.
“We went out with a whimper and it wasn’t a nice feeling.
“Picking the players up was tough, but we’ll be better for this for getting through at Dundee, there’s no doubt about it.
“There has to be some sort of understanding about the physical element for a team like ourselves when we go and play a seeded team in Europe. We’ve beaten the teams we were expected to beat in Europe. we wanted to be better than we were, but Rijeka are a good side and they showed that on Thursday against 10 men.
“Playing them with 10 men did impact us and I think people would concede that, but hopefully some rest and structure will help us for Kilmarnock on Saturday.”
McInnes was pleased to hand summer signing Craig Bryson his first start in midfield and praised striker Sam Cosgrove for his extra-time winner.
McInnes added: “Positives are that Craig Bryson played an hour and he will be better for that.
“We’ll have Lewis Ferguson back as well. It’s up to us to keep improving, but days like this are important.
“Sam has done what he’s done for us in the last wee while by coming up with the winning goal.
“It was a frustrating afternoon for him, but it has turned out to be the right outcome.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen are understood to have rejected an approach from St Johnstone to take striker Stevie May in on loan.
The Dons have informed the Perth side that if they want May, who has two years left on his Pittodrie deal, it must be a permanent move.
Saints have been unable to agree terms to secure May on a long-term permanent contract.
May, 26, has had interest from other clubs, but has made it clear his preference is St Johnstone, where he won the Scottish Cup.