Andre Villas-Boas believes Chelsea's success on Tuesday evening gives a "slap in the face" to their critics.
The Blues manager avoided an early Champions League exit thanks to a Didier Drogba-inspired 3-0 victory over Valencia. The 33-year-old broke the deadlock with a third-minute drive and, after Ramires prodded home a second, secured victory by neatly flicking in a Juan Mata through-ball in the second half.
Victory confirms progression to the knockout stage as Group E winners, which Villas-Boas hopes will quieten the naysayers, and he said: "Nobody would have bet on us finishing top, but it's happened and it is very, very gratifying for the team. We've been continually chased by different kinds of people, but today we've given everybody (those critics) a slap in the face."
He added: "It helps to score straight away in the game. It gave the team the right emotional stance for the rest of the game and gave a full boost in confidence.
"To get the second not long afterwards made the team even more confident on what was happening. In terms of the result and what happens in us finishing top, it's fantastic. It's against all odds.
"The team were excellent. It is a win of human values, of team spirit, solidarity, responsibility, strength of character, ability to take criticism, resilience, and this is a great win for Chelsea players. They deserve a respect that they don't get."
Villas-Boas has seen his squad selection, philosophy and position come under increasing scrutiny recently. The Portuguese manager believes the column inches dedicated to Chelsea is part of a wider "persecution" and called it "out of this world".
Asked whether he detected anger among players, Villas-Boas retorted: "No, I just think the reaction has been over the top.
"There's only one team in the country at the moment, and that's Man City. I hope they qualify sincerely, but the approach to them is if they qualify they qualify, and if they don't they don't.
"We don't get that margin from you guys. That's not the same as with us. I will never criticise your editorial choices, but it is the reality."