Hugo Lloris: Lyon v Tottenham match 'could almost be a Champions League game'

France captain relishes clash with former club

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has said Thursday's Europa League match against Lyon feels like a high-profile Champions League match.

Andre Villas-Boas' men will defend a 2-1 advantage from the first leg when they meet the French Giants at the Stade de Gerland. The winners will play either Inter Milan or Romania's Cluj.

Lloris joined Tottenham for £12million from Lyon in the summer, and was rested for the first leg at White Hart Lane, with Brad Friedel playing in goal. He is keen to return for the second leg against his former club, and expects the match will indicate how Spurs will fare if they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The France captain told the Evening Standard: “It could almost be a Champions League game between two top sides in Europe.

“For us, it’s a good test to play against a good team, we have a chance and we have to take it.

“Many players left Lyon in the last transfer window and the situation at the club isn’t easy at the moment but they can trust in their academy and still have great players like Lisandro Lopez and Bafetimbi Gomis.”

Even though Lyon are not as powerful as they have been over the last decade, when they were regular Champions League contenders and won seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles between 2002 and 2008, Remi Garde’s side are still second in the French league.

It is clear, too, that Lloris is still held in high regard at his former club.

At White Hart Lane, their fans taunted Friedel by chanting Lloris’ name at frequent intervals.

Lloris told the Spurs programme: “I received a lot of calls and messages after the draw was made and I have a lot of friends who are still at Lyon.

“It’s not easy because I have good relationships with all my former team-mates but that’s life.

“On the pitch there are no friends. We will all give our best to try to pick up the victory.

“We have ambition in this competition and we want to win.

“The Europa League is difficult — it’s a long tournament with good teams in it but we have a strong side and we believe we can do something in this competition.”

Lyon warmed up for Thursday’s second leg with an impressive 4-0 win at Bordeaux yesterday thanks to two goals from Clement Grenier, and one each from Gueida Fofana and Alexandre Lacazette.

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