Andre Villas-Boas sees tomorrow’s Europa League game with Lyon as a test of Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League credentials.
Spurs are desperate to reach Europe’s elite competition again and Villas-Boas is thrilled to test his team against a side who reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2010 and three straight quarter-finals soon before.
“It could be a test of whether we’re good enough to play in the Champions League,” Villas-Boas said. “I think Lyon represent a club with tremendous Champions League experience in recent years. I think it will be a good test for Tottenham.”
Spurs have only played in the Champions League once before. “I think we have to learn a lot from these European experiences,” Villas-Boas said. “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.”
“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.”
Although Spurs’ priority is to finish in the top four this season, Villas-Boas is keen to win this, as he did with Porto in 2011. Tottenham won the UEFA Cup in 1972 and 1984 and Villas-Boas said Spurs took this more seriously than other teams.
“We’ve approached this competition in a different way this season, not like other clubs, we fully respect it,” Villas-Boas said. “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.”
William Gallas, who should start this evening, admitted that he was not sure whether he would stay at Spurs beyond the end of his contract this summer. “I don’t know”, he admitted, when asked if he might stay, but said Champions League football could “maybe” convince him to stay.