Aberdeen boss Barry Robson insisted his side’s narrow defeat in Germany will give them belief they can compete at this level after falling agonizingly short in their opening Europa Conference League match.
The Dons were defeated in Frankfurt despite American midfielder Dante Polvara scoring his first goal for the club with a first-half equalizer.
They were outscored by two tame goals after Jack MacKenzie conceded an early penalty and Robin Koch headed in from a corner to give the hosts a win. But Robson (below) saw his men take on the 2022 Europa League winners and they should have grabbed a draw in stoppage time when Ester Sokler struck wide.
Robson insisted their performance last night could be the spark that turns a poor campaign around, saying: “This gives the players confidence that they belong at this level.
‘It is well. We have already shown in three European matches that we can compete against good teams that are higher in the rankings than us.
Barry Robson believes his players’ performances despite the loss to Eintracht Frankfurt will give them confidence
‘We have a history with Aberdeen in Europe and you can feel that.
‘I certainly do that and so do the players. We respect that we want this tradition to exist and that we continue it.
“Tonight was a different kind of performance. It was a more disciplined performance and that’s what you have to do.
‘It’s difficult to really put high pressure against a team of that quality, but we kept our distances well tonight.
“So I think we’ll take a lot of positives with us. We once again put in a decent performance against a top team.
‘I am proud. When you wear that Aberdeen shirt you have to show that mentality, desire, fight and tactical knowledge. I thought they all did that in spades – and in the last ten minutes we might have got a draw.
Dante Polvara equalized for Aberdeen after 22 minutes, but ultimately lost due to two tame goals
“It’s frustrating to lose it during a set play. It’s disappointing to come here and have that happen.
“If they undo you with a brilliant play and someone puts one in the top corner then that’s fair enough. But being beaten by a set play is really frustrating.”
Polvara, who just signed a new three-year contract last week, admitted it was a bittersweet moment for him after his first goal for the club counted for nothing.
He said: ‘It has to be my biggest goal in my career. I know I didn’t score much, but it has to be up there.
‘Yet we have not delivered anything and that is the main problem.
‘We need points and it’s disappointing to put in so much effort and come away with nothing. ‘
Aberdeen said they would work with UEFA and authorities after a pyrotechnic flare was thrown at their end
Eintracht Frankfurt manager Dino Toppmoller said: ‘Were Aberdeen more difficult than we expected? No, we knew they would play like that and defend deep. But in the end we won the game, so that’s good.’
Meanwhile, Dons officials admitted they were disappointed after their fans threw a pyrotechnic flare into the away corner during the first half.
A statement from the Pittodrie club said: ‘The club is deeply disappointed by the actions of a small minority of supporters who threaten to tarnish the good reputation of Aberdeen FC and the vast majority of Dons supporters.
‘The club will fully cooperate with UEFA and the relevant authorities during any investigations.’
Frankfurt police stated: ‘During the first half of the match, one of the away fans threw a burning pyrotechnic object into the adjacent home fan block. Fortunately, no one was injured.
“We captured the crime on video and arrested the suspect.”