Di Matteo pays tribute to old boss Villas-Boas

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Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech believes the 2-0 FA Cup fifth round replay win over Birmingham is the first step after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.

The Portuguese was dismissed following the 1-0 defeat to West Brom in the Barclays Premier League at the weekend and Cech, Chelsea captain at St Andrew’s, hopes to see his side continue the progress after booking a quarter-final tie with Leicester. “You have to move on. Today was the first step,” said Cech.

“The board and the directors took the decision (to sack Villas-Boas) which you as a player have to respect.”

Chelsea took the lead in the second half through Juan Mata before Raul Meireles doubled the advantage shortly after .

Mata also saw Colin Doyle repeat his penalty save from the original tie which had finished 1-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Cech added: “We had to fight. They have experience (this season) from Europe.

“Historically this is a difficult place for Chelsea to come.

“In the second half we scored the first goal and the game opened up.”

Chelsea caretaker-manager Roberto Di Matteo – in charge until the end of the season – spared a moment for his old boss.

He said: “My thoughts tonight go to Andre. I think the attitude was right, the commitment, the passion was there.

“It was important tonight to go through to the next round, for our club and for our supporters.

“We have two months left to the end of the season. We have to try to achieve what we have set ourselves for this season.

“It’s only possible if the 25 players in the squad are a little bit unselfish and work together.”

After a goalless first half, Di Matteo saw Mata break the deadlock eight minutes after the restart. Then a superb 59th-minute strike from Raul Meireles doubled Chelsea’s lead to secure a home quarter-final tie with Leicester City.

Di Matteo left Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Daniel Sturridge out of his starting line-up although skipper John Terry was a surprise substitute after his recent operation.

Birmingham: Doyle, Spector, Ibanez, Davies, N’Daw (King 72), Redmond, Mutch, Gomis, Elliott, Rooney (Burke 59), Zigic. Unused substitutes: Myhill, Valles, Reilly, Jervis, Packwood.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Bertrand, Ramires (Lampard 75), Mikel, Meireles, Kalou (Sturridge 59), Torres, Mata (Essien 89). Unused substitutes: Hilario, Drogba, Lukaku, Terry.

Referee: A Taylor (Cheshire).