Villas-Boas thinks the quality on display in the second-tier competition should not be underestimated after yesterday's last-32 draw in Nyon threw up tough fixtures.
Reigning European champions Chelsea will face Sparta Prague in the knockout stages, New-castle have been paired with Metalist Kharkiv and Liverpool take on Zenit St Petersburg.
"Lyon is a tremendous tie for us in the sense that it gives this country, along with the Liverpool game, the chance to see wonderful Europa League fixtures being played," Villas-Boas said.
"Zenit-Liverpool and Tottenham-Lyon should both be considered like Champions League fixtures so I think this is something important for the competition, for how it's seen in this country.
"The fact that we play Lyon, who are used to being in the Champions League and used to winning trophies, it's an important reference for us.
"If we want to set our targets for Champions League qualification, this is the kind of team we will face, teams with a winning mentality, full of quality players."