Garde: Lloris return will be emotional
Lyon coach Remi Garde believes it was inevitable Hugo Lloris make a speedy return to the Stade de Gerland after Tottenham Hotspur were paired with the French goalkeeper's former club in the last 32 of the Europa League.
Lloris, 25, made the switch to White Hart Lane after four years at OL where he established himself as the French national team's number one and captain. Having fought off competition from Brad Friedel at Spurs, the Nice-born custodian is now set to come up against some very familiar faces.
"Tottenham makes us think of Hugo. It's destiny. It'll certainly be very emotional for him at Gerland. I hope he won't want to shine too much, though I fear that will be the case," Garde said. "Little by little, their team is improving, and Hugo Lloris has played a role in that by bringing stability. Like him, they're a team on the up. They'll be serious opponents."
OL breezed through the group stages with the best record of any club, but were hardly rewarded for their efforts with Thursday's draw at UEFA HQ in Nyon, Switzerland, mapping out a testing path towards the final in Amsterdam. Inter Milan or Cluj await in the last 16, and Garde is aware Spurs already present a formidable obstacle to his team's ambitions.
"We can't say that it's the best possible draw. Tottenham are having a good season, and in contention to qualify for the Champions League. They have a complete and varied squad with a number of options," the ex-Arsenal midfielder, who played with the Gunners between 1996 and 1999, said.
"It's possible I'll get whistled and booed at White Hart Lane, but I'm not sure that the supporters remember me in an Arsenal shirt. Perhaps for this time they'll make an effort though."