Terry delighted as Chelsea put dip behind them
Chelsea captain John Terry said he hoped his team's dip in form was over after the Blues avoided an early Champions League exit last night.
After facing elimination from the competition, Chelsea ultimately advanced to the knockout stage as Group E winners with a resounding 3-0 win over Valencia at Stamford Bridge.
Didier Drogba broke the deadlock with a third-minute drive before Ramires prodded home a second. The Ivorian secured the victory when he flicked in a Juan Mata through-ball in the second half.
Bayer Leverkusen’s failure to win in Genk meant the Blues were able to overtake the German to seal top spot, with Valencia now dropping into the Europa League.
“We're obviously delighted (with the result),” said Terry.
“We left it too late in the group, but it was a good solid performance and we knew it was going to be very difficult, which it was.
“It was important we didn't concede and we managed that. We set out with a game plan and we still had to get a second goal.
“The manager said at half-time that the third one would kill them off completely, which it did.
“They were totally deflated after that.”
Chelsea’s hopes hung in the balance after they too drew in Genk before losing in Leverkusen in their last outing.
They always knew a win over Valencia would guarantee progress, but the bonus came when Genk claimed their third home draw in the group, after losing all three away games.
“Genk was a tough place to go, but we're delighted to be top and we're delighted to be in the next round,” said Terry.
“We had our dip in form in the season and hopefully that's the end of it. Newcastle (3-0 away win on Saturday) was the building block.”
Double goalscorer Drogba believes the pressure of needing to secure qualification in the final group game actually worked in Chelsea's favour.
“There was a lot of pressure, but there's four teams so you have to play until the last day,” said the 33-year-old striker.
“We had the chance to finish top and our attitude was positive. I think the pressure can sometimes be positive.
“I'm improving since the last few games. I've managed to have more time on the pitch and it's helping me a lot.”
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas was relieved to finish top of the pool and claimed his under-pressure side had given everyone a “slap in the face.”
“In terms of the result I'm very happy,” said the Portuguese.
“The players worked very hard for the win. Guess what? We finished top of the group against all odds.
“It was good to score straight away. Valencia started a bit uncomfortably and struggled a couple of times.
“Our strategy was always to keep our line of defence close to our goal.
“The Premiership games — in our last four games we have had three clean sheets so our defence isn't that bad.
“I think the players have given everyone a slap in the face today.
“What matters is that Chelsea finished top of the group.
“We qualified in first place and we eagerly await the draw to see how far we can go in this competition.”