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Dec 21, 2012

AVB: Lyon clash 'like Champions League'

Andre Villas-Boas believes Tottenham being drawn against Lyon is "wonderful and important" for the Europa League.

Villas-Boas' men were pitted against the Ligue 1 side on Thursday, creating a highly-anticipated tie in the last-32. The Spurs manager insists that matches of such a high profile will boost the Europa League's reputation in England.

"Lyon is a tremendous tie for us in the sense that it gives this country, along with the Liverpool game, the chance to see wonderful Europa League fixtures being played," he said.

"Zenit-Liverpool and Tottenham-Lyon should both be considered like Champions League fixtures so I think this is something important for the competition, for how it's seen in this country.

"The fact that we play Lyon, who are used to being in the Champions League and used to winning trophies - it's an important reference for us. If we want to set our targets for Champions League qualification, this is the kind of team we will face, teams with a winning mentality, full of quality players. In that sense I think it's excellent for the publicity of the competition in this country.

"You see how well they have been doing in the league this year. They have been knocked off first place by Paris Saint-Germain but they are rebuilding again. They are a club also with financial difficulties.

"But they have a great winning mentality. It is an extremely difficult draw for us, among one of the worst teams you could get."

During his time at FC Porto, Villas-Boas claimed the Europa League crown in 2011 and has been a strong supporter of the competition since. Spurs may face Serie A giants Inter Milan - who must get past Cluj - in the round of 16.

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