The Chelsea boss took the bold decision to leave out the trio and the media were quick to jump on it after the game as Chelsea slipped to a 3-1 defeat in Naples.
Many eyebrows were raised when the teams were announced but Villas-Boas has hit back and says it would not be mentioned had Chelsea gone on to win the game.
Cole has been struggling with a calf injury so there may have been good reason to leave him out but the decision to leave two experienced players like Essien and Lampard out of such a crucial game, did not make sense and Villas-Boas was nor willing to explain.
"You can have your opinion but it was based on what was the best team in my thoughts," Villas-Boas said. "Whatever explanation I give you, in the end it would be a fantastic explanation if we'd won the game.
"Any explanation is now useless given the result of the game, so there's no point."
Managers live and die by their decisions and it looks as though this one backfired for the under-pressure boss.