Graham Taylor on Chelsea's 'breakthrough' win

Andre Villas-Boas
Villas-Boas must prepare his team to face Manchester City on Monday

I believe Chelsea's win over Valencia, and the way they approached the game tactically, will be something of a breakthrough for manager Andre Villas-Boas.

I feel a bit of sympathy for him as a young manager coming in because he is having to deal with very experienced players, some of whom are past their real best.

I have been a young manager and when you are dealing with players who are older than you and have more experience than you, you have to be strong and make sure that you are the man. You cannot afford to be seen to be weak.

Villas-Boas has the difficult task of replacing some of those older players and renewing the side, and there are signs he is starting to get the balance right.

He has rightly recognised that Juan Mata can provide the creative spark and the Spaniard was brilliant against Valencia. But I would still like to see him given more licence to roam around the pitch.

It can be difficult as a young manager to let players go and express themselves but I think he is a fantastic player and should just be allowed to play. In my opinion, he is the signing of the year.

We also saw some impressive performances from David Luiz and the young Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu.

Luiz was much more disciplined than usual and I get the impression that the manager has had a word with him and told him to focus on his defending first and foremost. There is a real quality about the lad and he can be a key player going forward.

Meanwhile Romeu has the makings of an excellent player, if he isn't one already. He is taking pictures in his mind all the time, looking around him and picking out passes.

All in all, it was a great night for Chelsea, but I'm not sure if Villas-Boas was wise to try to get his own back by describing the result as a "slap in the face" to Chelsea's critics.

What he has to learn is that along with getting praised when results go well, you will get criticised when they go badly. That's football.

Graham Taylor was speaking on BBC Radio 5 live

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