Aberdeen man Jonny Hayes says the Dons must focus on catching Hibs in third place now after another disappointing weekend for the Pittodrie club.
There has been talk this season of either Aberdeen or Hibs overtaking Celtic in second place this term after a disappointing Parkhead campaign. But a 2-0 defeat to the Hibees leaves Derek McInnes’ side five points off third and 11 behind Celtic, Hayes’ former side having a game in hand.
The race for third is Aberdeen’s aim now according to Hayes: “We drew a blank again up front and it’s obvious we’re not carrying that threat we need going forward and then in the last couple of games, small individual errors have ended up costing us goals at the other end. It’s very disappointing but we need to react quickly to it now.
“Earlier in the season, we weren’t scoring that many goals, but we were looking more secure at the back. More recently, individual errors have crept in and that’s proved costly for us, especially when you look at the bigger picture.
“A misplaced pass, not tracking a runner, all our mistakes seem to be getting punished all the time. That’s the kind of run we’re in, and that’s cost us a lot of points. It’s important we finish as high up the league as possible. The battle now is to try and catch Hibs and we have to treat every single game we have left as a cup final.
“We know how important European football is to the club, how much it impacts on the budgets, and we know how much the manager and the fans want to achieve European football again.”
Getting the simple things right could go a long way to remedying a run that has culminated in one win in eight games according to Hayes: “The manager is always the one who takes the criticism for the faults of the players, but we know as a group that we haven’t been good enough in too many games, simple as that, and as players, we have to take the responsibility for the way we perform.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know that we have to be honest about ourselves and we haven’t been performing well enough. That’s the top and bottom of it for me, the team isn’t playing well enough. We need to correct that fast.
“We have to go back to basics, work harder than anybody. It’s difficult at this time of year, with the weather conditions and with so many midweek games, to get as much done as you’d like, but we need to be better.”
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