Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed the impact Cristiano Ronaldo was having on the Italian champions as the Portuguese star became the first player to achieve 100 Champions League wins in Tuesday's 1-0 success over Valencia that clinched their passage to the knockout rounds.
"Ronaldo gives us a sense of security and confidence," said Allegri of the beaten finalists in two of the last four editions of the elite European competition.
"The team is essentially the same as last season. We've grown, become faster in playing the ball, but then of course, there is Cristiano Ronaldo.
"This team is constantly improving - they're passing and putting play together more quickly."
Ronaldo -- who joined Juventus last summer from Real Madrid -- is targeting a sixth Champions League title to add to his four with the Spanish team and one with Manchester United. The Italian team are looking for their third European title and first since 1995. Last season they exited in the quarterfinals to Ronaldo's Real Madrid.
The 33-year-old played a key role against Valencia providing the assist on 59 minutes which Croatian Mario Mandzukic tapped in for his third goal in as many matches.
Juventus had needed just a point to ensure qualification and their win, combined with Manchester United's late 1-0 win over Young Boys, means Valencia crash out of the competition.
At Old Trafford, Marouane Fellaini struck a controversial stoppage-time winner to bring blessed relief after a laboured win over Young Boys edged them into the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday.
United's struggles and their fans' disenchantment looked set to continue as it seemed that, for the first time in their history, they were going to fail to score at their own ground in a European tie for three matches in a row.
Yet, after largely dominating the match while being betrayed by a blunt edge up front, Belgian Fellaini turned to shoot home in the 91st minute, despite the ball appearing to come off his hand as he swivelled to strike it.
"The most important thing is to qualify and for some of my lovers, and those that like stats, I am 14 seasons in the Champions League and 14 times my teams have qualified through to the group stages," Mourinho told BT Sport. "The season I was not in the Champions League, I won the Europa League."
United, though, were also grateful for goalkeeper David de Gea, who made a truly remarkable second-half save at full stretch from a deflected strike, clawing the ball off the line at full stretch.
It was so brilliant that it even prompted United manager Jose Mourinho to hail the Spaniard as "the best goalkeeper in the world."