Cockerill urges his Tigers to break Clermont home run
Leicester's coach Richard Cockerill looks on before the European Cup rugby union match ASM Clermont-Auvergne vs Leicester rugby at the Marcel Michelin stadium on December 11, 2011 in Clermont-Ferrand, central France - by Thierry Zoccolan
The English champions were given the unenviable task of travelling to central France for what is guaranteed to be a humdinger of a European Cup quarter-final on Saturday after going down to group winners Ulster by three points in their final pool game.
While Cockerill bemoaned the draw, he said his side had an opportunity to make a name for themselves at the fortress that is their Marcel-Michelin stadium.
"There's no taking away the home record Clermont have at the moment, but that puts pressure on them and less pressure off us," the former England hooker said.
"We know how difficult it will be to come to Clermont."
Cockerill, a two-time European Cup winner with Leicester as a player, added: "You have to look at the game as an opportunity. We have the opportunity to go to Clermont and make history by being the side that breaks that long run of wins for them.
"Records are there to be broken, there's always games where you'll be beaten.
"We've got to see it in a positive way. We don't go away from home expecting to lose."
Cockerill also said that he took little from Clermont's shock 26-24 defeat by Brive in the Top 14 last weekend.
"I won't take much from their performance against Brive. I know they'll be very well prepared," he said.
"They're very much in the top four of the championship and we know they will have a focus on this weekend.
"We know if we get it wrong, they can score tries from all over the field.
"It's important we get our game right and try and play as we can.
"We go there with no pressure because the pressure's on Clermont to win at home. Everyone expects them to be in the final or potential winners.
"We're going to play as hard as we can, throw everything at them. There are threats across the field. If we match them physically and keep the crowd quiet, we might have a chance."
For Cockerill, it will also herald a return to a club he played for after a long Leicester career, for two seasons in 2002-4.
"I had a fantastic time in Clermont, my son was born in Clermont," the 43-year-old said.
"I had a very great experience there, they're a fantastic club and the two clubs (Clermont and Leicester) are very similar with their recruitment and culture.
"It's a place I like a lot and have happy memories there, but it's my job with Leicester to win this week."
The Tigers, Cockerill said, had been "hit by early season injuries".
"Slowly we're getting better and now, when it really matters, we hopefully can defeat big teams.
"But we've had some good results. To play in Europe and get out of our pool, to go to Montpellier and win gives us confidence we can go away to France and hopefully try to win again."