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Tuesday 06 December 2011

Villas-Boas targets European knockout stage

Chelsea manager wants decisive display against Valencia to book last-16 place

Andre Villas-Boas has presided over a tough Champions League campaign for Chelsea

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas says he will send out his team to beat Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday and guarantee a place in the competition's last 16.

Victory or a 0-0 draw will see the Blues progress, but a scoring draw or a Valencia win would mean the Spanish side go through at Chelsea's expense.

Villas-Boas has demanded a more attacking menatality from his players since taking charge in June, and he says they must continue to play on the front foot even though a goalless draw would suffice.

"We won't change our strategy just because it is an important match"
- Andre Villas-Boas

"People have seen us play enough now to be sure we always take the initiative in matches," said the Portuguese. "We know that Valencia want to get something because a goal for them makes it even more difficult for us.

"But we won't change our strategy just because it is an important match. We will take the initiative and we won't play counter-attack or us the long balls. We want good-quality possession football and that's what we'll do."

Chelsea have dropped points against Valencia, Genk and Bayer Leverkusen in Group E, leaving their hopes of progressing in doubt. But Villas-Boas is confident the home fans can make the difference at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

"During this campaign we've done pretty well in terms of performances but the small details have run away from us in the last few minutes," he added.

"We now face Valencia in one of their most impressive moments of the season, different from when we faced them last time.

"Our fans can have a massive impact and I have good memories of top European nights at this club.

"I know the atmosphere can be raised and if the fans can replay the type of atmosphere they had in the 4-2 win over Barcelona a few years ago, then we have the right ambience to take on Valencia."

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Key Points

  • Villas-Boas tells Chelsea to go and beat Valencia
  • Blues need win or 0-0 draw to qualify for last 16
  • Manager says team will not change their usual style