Villas-Boas grateful over decision

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Andre Villas-Boas went from denouncing officials to thanking them after Chelsea ended their penalty shootout curse by beating Fulham in dramatic fashion to reach the Carling Cup fourth round.

Villas-Boas began the week complaining to referees' chief Mike Riley about the performance of Phil Dowd and his assistants in Sunday's Barclays Premier League defeat at Manchester United. But the Blues boss was thankful for Chris Foy, Darren Cann and Mike Millarky after they deemed Bryan Ruiz's penalty had not crossed the line in Fulham's 4-3 shootout defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Replays were inconclusive as to whether Ruiz's spot-kick - which bounced down off the crossbar - should have been given after the forward hit the crossbar, and Villas-Boas admitted afterwards he was uncertain if the correct decision had been made. "Everybody was looking at each other wondering if it was celebration time," he said.

"The linesman was there so maybe, this time, the decision is good."

Fulham boss Martin Jol added: "To be fair, I haven't seen it. Somebody was standing in front of me and then I saw him (Ruiz) go towards the goalkeeper and I knew that he'd missed."

The victory was only Chelsea's second in a shootout in nine attempts and was all the more extraordinary considering they played for more than 70 minutes with 10 men and Fulham missed another penalty during normal time.

Both were part of the same incident, with Alex dismissed for bringing down Kerim Frei and Pajtim Kasami smashing the spot-kick against the bar. Villas-Boas, who flooded his team with youngsters under the orders of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, said: "It was a superhuman effort during 70 minutes.

"To be with 10 men for 70 minutes and to hold Fulham's goal and still to create the most amount of opportunities and the best opportunities is out of this world. I'm very, very happy with the display of everybody, commitment-wise, effort-wise, concentration-wise."

Villas-Boas admitted he was not unaware of Chelsea's previous shootout failures.

"It was made aware to me, even by my players," he said. "Also, my players told me that apparently Chelsea has been out of the Carling Cup with 10 men all the time. So, in one stroke, we break two bad myths."

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