Barry Robson insists Aberdeen will need to be almost perfect at Pittodrie to make sure PAOK don’t claim another Scottish scalp.
The Dons boss knows the Greek side are dangerous after watching them batter Hearts 6-1 on aggregate in the Europa Conference League play-offs. Aberdeen are looking to get up and running after picking up a point at home to HJK Helsinki on the back of the narrow defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt.
And Robson warned: “Everyone knows PAOK are a top side. We saw their quality at Tynecastle. They are strong all over the pitch. But our performances in Europe have been good – without getting the results we have maybe deserved. We need to put on a proper performance. It needs to be close to a perfect. The players will need to be eights and nines. If we can do that with the fans behind us then then we have a chance to cause an upset – because, let’s be honest, with the financial difference, that is what it would be.
“We are the underdogs – but I like that sometimes. This the stage we want to be on. The way we played away in Frankfurt, in Sweden and at times against Helsinki showed what we can do. If we put those performances together for ninety minutes this week then I think we have a chance.
"We create a lot of chances as a team and if we keep doing that, we’ll be okay. What we need is people chipping in from all over the pitch, not just the strikers - we need it to be a collective thing. If we keep creating, feeding the midfielders and strikers then we’ll win more games that we’ll lose.”
Robson watched PAOK brush aside the Jambos but he admitted he hasn’t picked the brains of Gorgie boss Steven Naismith. But he’s hoping the Greek big guns head to Scotland expecting an easy ride.
Robson said: “They won 6-1 on aggregate so hopefully they do think it’s easy! We are a totally different team to Hearts so I don’t think it’s going to have any relevance to this week. We have watched a lot of them, analysed their last three games and had people over watching them too. We have done all we can to get everything right.”
Robson is hoping the Red Army are out in force tonight with around 1500 PAOK fans invading the Granite City. He said: “The support can play a part, of course it can. If you have a good mentality, embrace the fans and the pressure then it helps you on your way.
“You just have to remember that when there’s chaos going on off the pitch, you have to stay controlled on it. European football is something you get better at with experience. You need to play it to know how to play it. I know that from my own career, the more games you play the better you get.
“You might have a bad game here and there, but generally you improve the more you play. It’s completely different to playing in Scotland, all different styles and approaches to the game, so you need to learn about it.”