Stefan Gartenmann keen to help Aberdeen strengthen defensively

The defender believes Duk can help spark a Dons resurgence.

Stefan Gartenmann keen to help Aberdeen strengthen defensively SNS Group

Stefan Gartenmann aims to do his bit to improve Aberdeen’s fortunes by improving their defensive performances – but he knows a return to form by Duk could prove pivotal in their season.

Duk came off the bench to inspire a comeback against Motherwell on Wednesday as his double saw the Dons come from three goals down to draw 3-3.

The former Benfica B player has struggled to replicate his debut campaign at Pittodrie but is now on seven goals for the season and will hope to start his first cinch Premiership game of 2024 when Hibernian visit Pittodrie on Saturday.

Gartenmann said: “We all hope to see the Duk from last season. We have seen it in moments. We see it every now and then.

“When I see some of the goals he scored last season he just has a top level that is unheard of.

“If we can get that Duk back with the Bojan (Miovski) we have this season then we will start to win games.

“Then it is up to us to start getting clean sheets as well. We haven’t had many of those either and that is a big task. If we can get clean sheets then we will win games.”

The Dons have only recorded one clean sheet in their last 14 league matches and their three-man defence was in disarray against Motherwell, losing three goals before centre-back Angus MacDonald entered the fray with Duk on the half-hour mark.

“Going 3-0 down to Motherwell at home is not acceptable,” said Gartenmann, who netted Aberdeen’s second goal.

“Yes, we came back and got a point but if you look at it from a bigger perspective, we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position and be 3-0 down to any team. It doesn’t matter if it is Motherwell or Bayern Munich. We can never perform like we did in the first 30 minutes.

“We were just all over the place. We weren’t winning any duels and we weren’t making the passes we spoke about. We were behind them on the front foot and we were struggling to get in the game.

“The distances were way too high and everything we talked about leading up the game were thrown out the window.

“We were all over the place but luckily we made some tactical changes and we made some changes mentally as well.

“Of course, the goal helped also. That made us believe us and the crowd saw there was the possibility of us coming back as well.”

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