Derek McInnes has backed his players despite not qualifying for the Europa League

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Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes praised his players for their resilience in coming from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Kairat Almaty, despite the result seeing his side knocked out of the Europa League qualifiers on aggregate.

The 2-1 reverse in last week's away leg in Kazakhstan proved crucial, but the Dons boss saw plenty of positives.

"I couldn't ask any more from the players in terms of effort," he said. "The pleasing thing for me is that we were clearly a team hell-bent on winning the game. The intensity was there and the players deserve a lot of credit for that.


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"There's a lot of pride and satisfaction. I feel as though the team is improving, and the fact that every one of the 20,000 in the stadium stayed to a man shows recognition of that.

"I thought privately before the game that the first goal had to come as early as possible because of the way we set the team up with a lot of intensity. The first goal was so important, and we got caught running the ball in the wrong area."

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Gerard Gohou opened the scoring for the hosts after 59 minutes and, although Kenny McLean levelled on the night, the Dons could not muster the second goal that would have seen them take the third qualifying round tie into extra time.

McInnes felt it was a game his side could have won, adding: "I thought we were better than them and that we would get through this tie.

"Until somebody says to me at the end of the season, hopefully with a trophy in our hands, that going out of Europe was the best thing that happened to us, it'll continue to be a disappointment."

Kairat manager Vladimir Weiss said the game was one which would long stick in the memory, but acknowledged he was a worried man after McLean had found the net.

He said "We have a lot of technical players, while Aberdeen have big men who are good in the air. After they scored, it was the longest 10 minutes of my life! We are very proud to secure an important victory against a big club, and we look forward to the draw (on Friday)."

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