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Feb 13, 2013

AVB: Lyon test like Champions League tie

Andre Villas-Boas believes his Tottenham Hotspur team treat the Europa League in a "different way" to virtually every other English club and says he has "high expectations" it can prove a significant stepping stone for the future, as well as invoking the spirit of the past.

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The Spurs boss referenced the fact they were inaugural winners of the old Uefa Cup in 1972, before going on to win it again in 1984.

In the present, meanwhile, Villas-Boas thinks any run in the competition won't affect their challenge to finish in the top four and that Thursday's tie against Lyon will actually indicate whether they are ready for the Champions League.

"We've approached this competition in a different way this season, not like other clubs," Villas-Boas said. "We fully respect it.

"We have high expectation for this cup because of what it represents for the club in the past. We have embraced it in a different way, basically. It would be excellent to lift a trophy this season. This is the probably the one that remains because, in the Premier League, the league leaders have escaped with it.

"I don't think it's going to ruin our continuous run in the Premier League. They did extremely well after each Europa League game so their bodies are able to recover quickly and be ready for Sunday's game. I think we've been handed the most difficult draw of this knock-out phase.

"I called it when the draw came out: it's like a Champions League tie, and I still feel the same way. This is a club with ambitions to win trophies every season and a team that can cause problems for us.

"It could be a test of whether we're good enough to play in the Champions League. I think Lyon represent a club with tremendous Champions League experience in recent years.

"I think it will be a good test for Tottenham. I think we have to learn a lot from these European experiences. It's always going to be a learning experience for us and I think it can serve that purpose towards the future, that's for sure."

William Gallas, meanwhile, also highlighted the importance in developing a trophy-winning culture.

"I'm a competitor," he said. "I don't like to lose, so every game is very important. Every victory is very important, even if we don't play well. Maybe some people didn't understand my reaction sometimes.

"I came from a club where I won some trophies so I know what you have to do. But now some players have changed, so it's a good point. What is good as well is to like perfection. Even if you win one game some things are not right so you have to encourage it.

"You have to speak with the players and say what is good; what is wrong. When you do this I think you will get what you want."

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