London: Chelsea eased the pressure on beleaguered boss Andre Villas-Boas as the Blues gave a clinical display of finishing to beat Newcastle 3-0 at St James' Park on Saturday.
Villas-Boas has come under fire in recent weeks following a miserable run of results, but the Portuguese coach was able to silence the critics after goals from Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge lifted the Blues into third place in the Premier League.
After Tuesday's League Cup quarter-final exit against Liverpool, Villas-Boas - whose side started the day in fifth place - could ill afford to lose further ground in the fight for a top four finish.
He got an early break as Chelsea were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men in the fourth minute when David Luiz hauled down Demba Ba.
Luiz was clearly the last defender but referee Mike Dean decided to book the Brazilian rather than send him off.
Dean ruled in Chelsea's favour again in the 14th minute when the official gave a penalty for Yohan Cabaye's trip on Sturridge.
However, Frank Lampard's low spot-kick was weakly struck and Tim Krul pushed it onto a post.
Chelsea took the lead when Drogba struck with a bullet header from Juan Mata's cross in the 38th minute.
Drogba almost scored at the wrong end in the second half when his attempted clearance hit the bar and John Terry had to clear off the line from Sammy Ameobi.
But substitute Kalou's 88th minute strike and a cool shot from Sturridge in stoppage time secured Chelsea's second win in their last five matches in all competitions and ended Newcastle's unbeaten home run.