Coach Villas-Boas slams critics after 3-0 victory over Valencia takes Blues into last 16
Andre Villas-Boas slammed the snipers, who have criticised his Chelsea reign after the Blues swept into the Champions League last 16 with a 3-0 victory over Valencia.
Villas-Boas would have become the first Chelsea manager to see his side knocked out in the group stages of Europe's elite club competition if Valencia had won or secured a score-draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Super shot! Chelsea's Didier Drogba shoots to score the opening goal against Valencia during their UEFA Champions League Group E match at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. Chelsea won 3-0 to enter the pre-quarter- finals. pic/AFP
It might have also put his future in severe doubt. However, two goals from Didier Drogba and a Ramires strike -- combined with Bayer Leverkusen's draw at Genk -- saw Chelsea finish top of Group E.
Villas-Boas said: "The players deserve respect they don't get. We have been continually chased by everybody and maybe today we gave everybody a slap in the face.
"It (criticism) has been over the top. At the moment Manchester City is the only team in the country. The approach in the media is if Manchester City qualify from their group then great and if not that's ok. We don't get that approach (from the media).
"Some of the criticism is out of this world. There was an ex-Manchester United defender who said he could not play for this Chelsea team. It is unbelievable to me. It is a continuous persecution of Chelsea.
"Finishing top is fantastic, it is against all odds. Nobody would have put a bet on us finishing top. It is a win of human values, team spirit, solidarity, strength of character and ability to take criticism."
One of the main criticisms of Villas-Boas has come from suggestions he has lost the respect of his players with an aloof attitude and some puzzling tactics and substitutions.
If the players do remain to be convinced by their young Portuguese coach, there was no sign of the dissent as Drogba tormented a fragile Valencia defence, while Chelsea's tireless work-rate ran the Spaniards into the ground. Valencia enjoyed some impressive periods on the ball, but never recovered from a third-minute opening goal from Drogba.
Ramires then made it 2-0. A neat Drogba finish with 14 minutes remaining wrapped up an ultimately comprehensive victory.
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Olympiakos down Gunners 3-1 Olympiakos beat Group F winners Arsenal 3-1 here on Tuesday but failed to qualify for the last 16 following Marseille's victory over Dortmund.
It was a heartbreaking evening for the Greek side who, having scored their third goal with a minute left, heard that Marseille, who netted in the 85th and 87th minutes, had overturned a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in Germany.
Goals from Rafik Djebbour and David Fuster gave Olympiakos a 2-0 lead at the break before Yossi Benayoun pulled one back for the Gunners. But in the 89th minute Olympiakos sealed victory when, defender Olof Mellberg's header hit the post and Francois Modesto followed up to score.