'European form can inspire us in the league', says Villas-Boas
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas believes a long run in this season's Europa League can inspire his team to a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Villas-Boas' side edged past Lyon 3-2 on aggregate in their Round of 32 tie after Mousa Dembele's last-minute strike earned them a 1-1 draw here at the Stade de Gerland on Thursday.
Continued progress in the competition could have an impact on their quest for a top-four finish in the Premier League and a return to the Champions League for next season, but the Portuguese sees only positives in their continued continental progress.
"We have been having some great results recently, and hopefully this can serve as an inspiration," said Villas-Boas, whose side are on a 10-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, and face London rivals West Ham United and Arsenal in their next two matches, with a trip to West Ham to come on Monday.
"We have tended to do well in Premier League games that have come after European matches, and we have an extra day to recover now before playing West Ham.
"We will be in the right condition for that game. I don't think this competition is a distraction for us, I think it can be an inspiration."
Next up for Spurs in Europe is the enticing prospect of a two-legged last-16 showdown with Italian giants Inter Milan.
That will evoke memories of the sides' fascinating battles in the group stages of the Champions League in 2010, when a Gareth Bale hat-trick could not prevent Spurs from losing 4-3 in the San Siro.
The Premier league side, then managed by Harry Redknapp, did then beat Inter, European champions at the time, 3-1 at White Hart Lane.
"We will approach it looking to win it, but it will be extremely difficult as you can understand," Villas-Boas said of the tie.
"Not so long ago, we had two magnificent games against them, so hopefully we can recreate that special night that everybody still remembers at the club."
The Spurs boss also knows that beating a team of the calibre of Inter would leave them in a strong position to go on and win a trophy that he previously won with Porto in 2011.
"I think if we can go through against Lyon and Inter Milan, it would leave us in a great position to win the competition," he said.
"We still have to make some bigger steps, and I think Inter Milan represents exactly that.
"They won the European Cup a couple of years ago and it is basically still the same team.
"It represents a step up in terms of the quality of opposition, and it is a great, great fixture for us."
"We want to continue setting the example in this competition, a great example for England, and we have been rewarded with two magnificent ties so far," Villas-Boas added.
"I think everybody is buzzing to continue in this competition."
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