John Terry proclaimed this as one of Chelsea's "very best nights" after the club's old guard helped inspire a remarkable comeback to propel them into the Champions League quarter-finals.

The interim first-team coach, Roberto Di Matteo, and his players were joined in the dressing room by the owner, Roman Abramovich, flanked by the sporting director, Michael Emenalo, and the club's former striker Andriy Shevchenko, in giddy celebration. This was only the fourth time a side had overturned a two-goal deficit from the first leg since the competition was revamped and the team summoned form against Napoli that was hardly in keeping with their toils under the sacked André Villas-Boas this season.

"This is one of the very best nights for us," said Terry, who had headed his team into a 2-0 lead just after the interval before retiring injured in extra-time. "The lads put in a great display – really solid, really resilient – with real firepower when we went forward. It was really impressive watching the lads fight to the end. We proved we're a team tonight.

"First and foremost, that's what we're about: that desire, that togetherness and sticking together when it really mattered. We showed what Chelsea are really made of tonight. All we can do as players is stick together and get on with what we do best and that's playing football and winning matches. We are back winning games."

Di Matteo had celebrated manically on the final whistle, initially with Didier Drogba before thanking all his players. "Everybody was incredible tonight," said the Italian. "For the club it meant a lot to still be able to play in the Champions League. And you could see how much it meant to the players. Everybody was very happy, delighted, at the end that we'd managed to stay in the Champions League after such a big performance tonight.

"I've had some great nights I have to say, but this will probably go down in the club's history to have come back from a two-goal deficit in the first leg. You saw the players, how they performed. They showed they care about the team, the club, the supporters. It will give us a big boost going forward. We've just tried to go back to basics, to be solid, not concede goals. And we're always confident in the quality we have in the team to score goals ourselves. Every win will increase the confidence of the team."

Chelsea have now won all three matches under his temporary stewardship as they search for a long-term successor for Villas-Boas, with this victory a considerable boost to confidence as the team attempt to return to the Premier League's top four. "It's an absolutely huge win for us," said Frank Lampard. "It was crucial that, whatever the result, we produced a performance to stay in the competition.

"We can really build on this now and hopefully move onwards and upwards. We'll enjoy tonight and wait and see who we get [in the last eight, to be drawn on Friday]. But if we play with that ability and desire we can take on anybody. It's been a difficult season but a performance like that tonight can change things for us, so it's important we go on from here."