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Europa League Group C

Villas-Boas: Lyon a good test

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas says Thursday's Europa League second-round first leg clash with Lyon will be a great test of his team's ability to compete with the continent's top sides.

Last Updated: 14/02/13 at 20:04 Post Comment

Andre Villas-Boas: This will be like a Champions League tie

Andre Villas-Boas: This will be like a Champions League tie

Spurs are currently fourth in the Premier League and are hoping to return to the UEFA Champions League next season.

And, if they do qualify, they can expect to face teams such as Lyon, who reached the semi-finals of Europe's biggest event four years ago and possess stars such as Lisandro Lopez, Yoann Gourcuff and Bafetimbi Gomis.

Villas-Boas said: "This could be a test of whether we're good enough to play in the Champions League.

"I think we've been handed the most difficult draw of this knock-out phase. This is like a Champions League tie, Lyon represent a club with tremendous Champions League experience in recent years.

"It will be a good test for Tottenham. 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."

The first leg is at White Hart Lane and Villas-Boas says former Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will probably be on the bench, because he is keen to give Brad Friedel an outing.

"Most likely Brad is going to be in goal," said Villas-Boas.

"It's a decision we've already taken. We know this tie represents a lot to Hugo on a personal level but, out of respect to Brad, we will continue to apply the same principle we have in the past and rotate the goalkeepers."

William Gallas is expected to start in the centre of the defence alongside either Michael Dawson, Steven Caulker or Jan Vertonghen.

Younes Kaboul will be back to fitness in around two weeks and Villas-Boas says one of his centre-backs may be jettisoned in the close-season, with the 35-year-old Gallas a possible candidate.

"We won't start another season with five (centre-backs), for sure," said the manager.

"It's a difficult one. We have five top central defenders at the moment - a mixture of young players coming through with lots of experience, and then you have such tremendous central defenders as William, Dawson and Younes Kaboul.

"William has been a massive player for us this season, he's a player we trust a lot. Whatever we decide regarding his future, we'll have to wait and see, but we are aware of what a presence he's been for us this season."

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