Aberdeen will grow into Europa League - Derek McInnes

Aberdeen defender Ash Taylor and manager Derek McInnes celebrate
McInnes (right) says his team will improve

Derek McInnes believes Aberdeen were worthy of their away-goal win over Shkendija and can go into their next tie against Rijeka with confidence.

The Dons were held 0-0 at Pittodrie in their Europa League first qualifying round second leg, but Niall McGinn's first-leg goal took them though.

"Grateful to get through, they deserved to get through," said the manager.

"We look forward to the Croatians, who will be a notch up, but maybe the pressure will be on them more."

Rijeka, who had a bye in the first round, have qualified for the group stages in the last couple of seasons and are unbeaten at home in Europe in their last 12 games.

"They are a team who have consistently been at a high level in recent seasons and it's going to be a tough nut to crack," McInnes told BBC Scotland.

"But we feel confident that we can go and compete with them.

"Hopefully we will be stronger having got through this tie."

While Aberdeen were the better side in the first half in Macedonia, Shkendija were the more dangerous in the second.

Shkendija players pay tribute to their fans
Shkendija's players paid tribute to their travelling fans at Pittodrie

The Macedonians, seeking their first European aggregate win in five attempts, were also a match for the Dons in the second leg at Pittodrie and the home side had to survive some late pressure.

"When a team is 10-15 minutes away from going out of a tournament, they take a chance, put caution to the wind and put all their strikers on and caused us one or two problems," said McInnes.

"I thought their movement in the last 15 minutes from them was good and it asked questions of us and we had a few scary moments.

"While it's still 0-0 and while one incident can change it and you don't have a lot of time to come back, you are always a bit nervous.

"We had to play with intelligence and, for the majority of it, we were fine, but their movement in the forward areas was probably better than ours."

However, McInnes believes his side will improve in the next round.

"I think it's hard to ask any of my players to be where they want to be or what they are capable of at this stage of the season," he said.

"I think the better team won and the team that tried to win the tie won and got through.

"It was a tight match - maybe tighter than most people anticipated - and it's good to go through."

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