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07 Dec 2011

On what was supposed to be nervy night in West London, Andre Villas-Boas' Chelsea produced a performance to remind of years gone by to pick up a 3-0 victory over Valencia and progress to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.

Genk's unlikely draw with Bayer Leverkusen even ensured the Premier League club went into the last 16 as one of the top seeded teams after finishing as Group E winners, which eased some of the pressure on Villas-Boas.

The Chelsea boss, who would have faced increased scrutiny from critics and club owner Roman Abramovich had his team suffered the defeat or a score draw which would have resulted in elimination, could not have asked for a better evening.

It was not spectacular, but Villas-Boas' team were disciplined, compact and organised - adapting a different tactic of a deep defensive line - to create flashbacks to the days of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge.

Didier Drogba, an epitome of previous regimes, scored twice, while Ramires was also on target for a Chelsea side, which saw Frank Lampard remain an unused substitute, who will now prepare for next Monday's domestic meeting with Manchester City.

Villas-Boas on Monday night refused to countenance the prospect of failure, something he was nevertheless adamant would not cost him his job.

Seemingly backed to the hilt by billionaire owner Abramovich, Villas-Boas flexed his muscles this week by banishing Nicolas Anelka and Alex from his first-team squad and he was ruthless again by axing Lampard from his starting XI.

It was not the first time Lampard had been left out this season, but the midfielder'somission was arguably the most significant of his entire Chelsea career.

Source: skysports.com

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