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Feb 20, 2012

Villas-Boas confident of Euro glory

Andre Villas-Boas insists Chelsea have what it takes to win this season's Champions League, despite admitting they were "not good enough" to beat a depleted Championship side.

The Blues' 1-1 FA Cup fifth round draw with injury-hit Birmingham did nothing to ease the pressure on Villas-Boas, whose players have produced their worst performances of the season at what appears to be the wrong time.

Chelsea's Champions League campaign resumes on Tuesday night when they visit Napoli for their first leg of their last 16 clash and Villas-Boas still believes he has a squad capable of ending the club's long wait for Champions League glory.

"If you go past Napoli then you can have a really good chance, depending on who you get in the draw - if you get a good draw," he said. "It will be a massive challenge. Everyone saw what Napoli did in a group which put another English team out."

The Portuguese has admitted finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season's Champions League is the minimum requirement this term. But another early exit from this season's competition - which would mark the third year in a row Chelsea had failed to reach the semi-finals - would really test the patience of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

"The Champions League is a competition that everyone wants to win," said Villas-Boas. "The players will feel much more tension and feel it much more.

"There are two weeks between the games and it's important for us to be competent and to bring the game to Stamford Bridge with a win or a draw, ideally a scoring draw. Then we can finish the business here."

Chelsea certainly raised their game when reaching the Champions League knockout stage looked in doubt, beating Valencia 3-0 in December in what was their best performance of the season. That was inspired by Didier Drogba, who is expected to start on Tuesday night following another abject performance by Fernando Torres against Birmingham.

The £50 million man's stock has never been lower following a 20th club game without a goal, especially after playing every match since Drogba departed on African Nations Cup duty.

That eight-week period looked the Spaniard's best chance of rediscovering his form but Villas-Boas claimed the renewed competition from Drogba's return could be the real catalyst.

He said: "Everybody is desperate for him to score. Everybody pushes him, praises him in training and it will come with him getting opportunities.

"His confidence is low but we will have to continue to persist with our belief in his talent.

"The belief is the same. The only thing that changes is the level of competition for him and maybe that will be the key.

"More competition will see him push himself that little bit harder and maybe he will eventually reach his goal and targets."

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