André Villas-Boas praised Chelsea FC's "solidarity, responsibility, strength of character and ability to take criticism" after they held their nerve to beat Valencia CF and top Group E.
Article top media content
André Villas-Boas, Chelsea manager
It is a very, very good result and I am happy for the players. Guess what? We finished top of the group against all the odds. There has been a lot of criticism of our players and they gave everyone a slap in the face today. Valencia started uncomfortably, they gave away the ball, and we scored from one of their mistakes. We kept our defence close to our goal later on to see out the win.
The team were excellent. They showed great spirit, solidarity, responsibility, strength of character and ability to take criticism. This is a great win for the players and they deserve respect. We made changes to the way we play. We kept our compact block a lot further down the pitch and it worked well.
Football is driven by results, and today we have had an excellent result. We did not give Valencia space. Their possession was excellent but they could not get into the right areas. It was a major boost to get the first goal, and fortunately it fell to our side.
Collectively we were fantastic. Yes, Didier [Drogba] had a very good game and he is gaining confidence. As long as he continues to perform for the team then that is fantastic. In the Premiership we've had three clean sheets in four games. Our defence is not that bad and we have been improving a lot. What matters is that Chelsea topped the group and we can keep to our objectives and await the draw to see how far we can go.
Unai Emery, Valencia coach
We were ready for the game, in whatever form it ended up taking. The game would have changed if we had scored first. Conceding so early made it very difficult for us, but even then, we had two big chances. If one of them had gone in it may have been a very different game but to concede one, and then another, made it very difficult for us. We had a lot of possession. We had many chances, many corners, we just did not capitalise.
Maybe we are not strong enough, but Chelsea have a very powerful and physical team. I have got no complaints with my players, we just could not take our chances. Apart from today, we lost two very valuable points at Genk, but we must not look back. Chelsea and Leverkusen have progressed and they have done very well. We need to think forward now, we need to think of the Europa League. We need to get up again and keep fighting.
We would like to thank our fans for coming over here, and we share their disappointment but we must now look ahead to the future. We have a big game in the league at the weekend to prepare for.