Kerry Dixon says it is vital that Chelsea progress in the Champions League if Andre Villas-Boas is to impose his philosophy on the team.
The Blues must beat Valencia at Stamford Bridge, or get a goalless draw, to qualify for the knockout stages.
Former striker Dixon says Chelsea will be buoyed by Saturday's 3-0 victory over Newcastle but says the players will still be nervous on Tuesday with so much at stake.
"There's no getting away from the fact that it's an absolutely huge game for Villas-Boas and the club," Dixon told Sky Sports News. "They need to win it and progress into the next stages of this competition.
"It's vital not only for money - the club is pretty secure on that front I would imagine - but in terms of what it is going to mean for AVB and the way that he is trying to change the shape and the way the side is playing.
"I think he is going to need the confidence of the fans and people behind him and a win against Valencia - it doesn't matter how it is - will go very well on the back of the Newcastle game at the weekend because then, of course they've got the massive game against Manchester City the following Monday.
"There's nothing wrong with going into any game with confidence and the Newcastle game would have done them wonders. Not only did they create a numerous amount of chances but they got a resounding 3-0 win and also a clean sheet - somewhat fortuitously it must be said, courtesy of the crossbar and some excellent saves by Petr Cech and some very good defending at times.
"The old Chelsea used to shut out games and 1-0 would probably have been enough but they still continue to pour forward in the cavalier way that they have been doing and I've got to say it's an approach that I like to see. It's something that excites the fans and you're never quite sure what's going to happen."
Chelsea - who have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League each year since 2003 - are out of the League Cup and trail Manchester City by 10 points in the Premier League.
However, Dixon says Tuesday's game could well bring out the best in Villas-Boas.
"Every game brings pressure, I would imagine, and it's something AVB seems to thrive on," he said. "He's a confident man and, on the occasions that I've met him, he always talks positively about his team and about what he is trying to do.
"He seems focused on the way he wants to play and I don't really think he seems to be affected by the pressure that is put on him by the press; obviously the fans will have their say and the hierarchy will have certain feelings about the way he is going about his business but that win at Newcastle was absolutely fantastic not only for him but the players as well.
"I don't doubt for one minute that the crowd will be on tenterhooks [on Tuesday]. The players will have a little bit of apprehension about them as well and AVB will have a few nerves.
"But nevertheless it is a game they've got to win. They will be favourites to win the game from the start; they don't get beaten at home too often and with the knowledge that they have to win in order to progress in this particular tie I think they will do enough."