Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes his side need one thing in particular to help seal European success.

The Dons will return to Pittodrie to take on Rijeka in their Europa League third round qualifier. They trail 2-0 from their first leg, with a tough task waiting for them on home soil.

A tough test awaits the Dons. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

They’ll need to turn in an excellent performance and then some if they want to progress. McInnes has stated that his side need to strike early to have any chance of making it through.

He told the Press and Journal: “Rijeka are a good side. They are up there with the top one or two teams in the Croatian league. They have a good European pedigree and are a tough nut to crack.

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“We need an early goal to get the crowd right behind us and ask questions of the opposition.”

Early goal would stand McInnes’ Aberdeen side in good stead

With three, possibly four, goals to score against the Croatians, Aberdeen may need more than just one early goal.

In need of an early goal. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

It’s vital they start on the front foot. Away from home they didn’t test the Rijeka defence, opting instead to hold back and trying to hit them on the counter.

That didn’t work and they’ve paid the price for it. McInnes now needs to throw that plan out the window and go for a more attacking approach.

The likes of Ryan Hedges and Niall McGinn need to get more involved. They were very quiet over in Croatia and they have to see more of the ball at Pittodrie.

Doubts remain over the fitness of Sam Cosgrove, with McInnes confirming to the club’s website he is struggling with a hamstring injury. They need him to be fit, as he carries Aberdeen’s biggest goal threat.

McInnes has confirmed Cosgrove may miss the clash, which would limit the chance Aberdeen have of achieving European success. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

This is a massive tie for the Dons. An early goal would get Pittodrie rocking and allow the home fans to spur on their side to a brilliant European victory.

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