Frank Lampard celebrated one of Chelsea FC's greatest European nights after their stunning comeback to get past SSC Napoli as David Luiz savoured the "amazing atmosphere".
Article top media content
Frank Lampard hailed Chelsea FC's achievement in overturning SSC Napoli's 3-1 lead from their round of 16 first leg as one of the club's best UEFA Champions League nights.
Didier Drogba and John Terry scored with thumping headers to even things up overall and after Gökhan Inler had edged things back Napoli's way with a sumptuous half-volley, Lampard's penalty following a handball by substitute Andrea Dossena took the tie into extra time.
Despite all that had gone before, there was no drop-off in energy levels with both sides making a final push for the quarter-finals. The glory fell to the home team with Branislav Ivanović delivering an assured finish to make it a triumphant evening for the London outfit's interim manager Roberto Di Matteo.
"It has to be up there with those games against Liverpool [2007/08 semi-final], Barcelona [2004/05 round of 16] and Bayern Munich [2004/05 quarter-final] considering the recent circumstances and the fact we were 3-1 down from the first game," said England midfielder Lampard. "Our desire shone through. It was not always beautiful football but we played the way to get a result against a very good team, and our energy and will to win in the second half and extra time deserved to get us over the line."
It was a night for big hearts and unrelenting determination, a night when the Chelsea old guard seized the initiative and set out to prove they still had a significant part to play in their club's drive for honours despite the uncertainty following the departure of manager André Villas-Boas.
Only with the final blow of the referee's whistle could both sides take a well-deserved breather. "It was an amazing night, amazing atmosphere," David Luiz told UEFA.com.
"The Chelsea players showed great mentality and spirit against a very good team," added the Brazil defender, the Player Rater Top Player. "All the belief returned again to the team and the night showed that we really are Chelsea again."
Petr Čech, who was outstanding in the early period when the Italian visitors had chances to increase their advantage, suggested the victory could define the course of Chelsea's future. "In a season when nothing is really going the way we would want it, this is the moment when things could change," the goalkeeper said. "We need to perform on the pitch to do things right. This is where our role [as senior players] is. Tonight is a great example of how good it can be if you do things right."