Burnley boss Sean Dyche is pleased his side can give their fans a longer-distance “European tour” after beating Aberdeen in Europa League qualifying.
The tie against the Scottish side was the Clarets’ first in Europe for 51 years and they needed extra time to win 3-1 at Turf Moor, 4-2 on aggregate.
They now face Istanbul Basaksehir of Turkey in the third qualifying round.
“With all due respect, the idea of going on a European tour probably wasn’t to Aberdeen,” Dyche said.
“So we have got that part where they literally will be going further afield. The fans have waited 50 years. This was a good tie to be involved with, but they still had visions of going into Europe.”
Chris Wood had put Burnley 2-1 ahead on aggregate before Lewis Ferguson’s stunning overhead kick forced extra time.
Jack Cork’s header and an Ashley Barnes penalty sent the Clarets through.
“We didn’t expect anything other,” Dyche said on his side being run close, adding of Aberdeen: “They delivered two very strong performances. They came out tonight and they weren’t looking to hang on, they played. I think they’ve been excellent.
“The things that nearly went with them, I think you always need a referee on your side if you’re the underdogs and that helps. Their goalkeeper was excellent, one save was outstanding. That’s the mix you sometimes need. We’ve done it ourselves when we’ve been underdogs against teams.”
Tough balancing act
Dyche – who has never managed in Europe before – says it is difficult to balance trying to win a tie with thinking about the upcoming Premier League season.
Burnley, who visit Southampton in their league opener on Sunday, 12 August, would need to play 21 Europa League games if they were to reach the final.
“It’s going to be difficult,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. “That’s what the competition beholds. You can’t have it all ways – you want it, it comes and you say ‘oh we didn’t want to go that far’. That’s not the way it works.
“At the moment it’s more about players – we have a number of soft tissue injuries. It’s a strange situation, you want to win tonight because it’s important. But you’re not losing sight of the fact the Premier League is more important.
“And yet I’m looking at having to take people off to protect them in pre-season – but in a real game in Europe. It’s difficult as a manager. We had to make a decision on Chris Wood at half-time, we had to make a decision on Ashley Westwood because his hamstring felt tight, we had to make a decision on Stephen Ward – a maintenance issue to make sure he’s fine.
“It’s a weird situation, it’s a new one on me having to balance those things as the game is going on. The game was tight but I still had to remind myself that there was a bigger picture coming up.”
Analysis from Turf Moor
Former Scotland winger Pat Nevin was at Turf Moor for BBC Radio 5 live and said: “It was fantastically tight – really close for large parts,” he said. “Burnley played well for parts but Aberdeen will be pretty gutted that they’ve fallen just short against a top-quality Premier League team.
“Any other draw and I think Aberdeen would have gone through and had a run in this competition.”
Ex-Scotland striker Billy Dodds said on Sportsound: “I don’t think it was fitness that made the difference. I think it was that quality from the cross in for the header from Cork and that knocked the stuffing out of Aberdeen. That camouflaged how extra time panned out. It got to them, it drained them. It meant Burnley didn’t have to commit men forward and Aberdeen couldn’t find space on the counter-attack.
“You always felt there was going to be a sting in the tail. It was going too well for Scottish clubs in Europe this midweek. It’s a pity, but Aberdeen can be so proud.”
Burnley’s next opponents
Burnley’s third qualifying round opponents Istanbul Basaksehir are enjoying the best period in their history. Promoted to the top flight in 2014, they are in their fourth consecutive season in Europe, having never qualified before.
They finished third last season, only three points behind champions Galatasaray, sending them directly into this round.
Their squad contains several well-known players, including former Arsenal and Manchester City pair Emmanuel Adebayor and Gael Clichy and Barcelona loanee Arda Turan.
Captain Emre Belozoglu has won 95 caps for Turkey and used to play for Inter Milan, Newcastle and Atletico Madrid.
Morocco defender Manuel da Costa, former Paris St-Germain striker Mevlut Erdinc and ex-Switzerland and Leicester midfielder Gokhan Inler are also at the club.
Burnley go to Turkey next Thursday, before hosting Abdullah Avci’s side a week later.