McInnes: Entering at the second round was more challenging
Aberdeen drew 1-1 with Siroki Brijeg in the first leg Europa League qualifier.
Derek McInnes said entering the Europa League in the second round of qualifiers was more challenging on his side's fixtures than previous years when they've had to take part in the first.
Aberdeen skipped the opening ties because of results elsewhere last season. Neither of the Europa League finalists, Ajax or Manchester United, were able to qualify directly for the Champions League group stages through their respective league positions.
It meant an extra Europa League group stage place opened up and those already qualified moved up in the pecking order.
While it gave the Pittodrie side two weeks more to prepare for their fixture with Bosnian side Siroki Brijeg, McInnes said it made the tie tougher.
Aberdeen threw away the lead, after Ryan Christie opened the scoring, and will now have to score in the return leg next week.
"Understandably we're still a wee bit behind where we want to be at this stage," McInnes said. "It was always a concern for us.
"We gave the players three and a half weeks off but we knew we were coming back to a different level of opposition.
"Normally we get into the first round and sometimes, as challenging as it is, we've normally been quite comfortable getting through that and we've used those two games to get into this one.
"I think it was clear tonight we've still got a bit to go. There's no criticism of the players, it's clear we're going to get better as we go along. We were way off what we were capable of, I think that's clear."
The Aberdeen boss went on to analyse what went wrong and where his team struggled against their Bosnian opponents.
"We had chances, the better chances, but we didn't have the element of control," he continued. "The way they were set up they were always able to apply that pressure.
"We needed to do our better work in the wider areas, we were too eager to play through the middle of them where they had all their bodies.
"They lined up in the exact same shape we played in Rijeka when we were a counter attacking team and they gave us moments of anxiety.
"We chose to play the wrong pass but that comes hopefully from getting games and better decision making from players."