Hulk and Wu Lei scored twice as Shanghai SIPG crushed Shanghai Shenhua 6-1 on Saturday evening to close the gap on Chinese Super League leaders Guangzhou Evergrande to five points.
Carlos Tevez was on the scoresheet for Shenhua, who saw Gus Poyet resign from his position as head coach at the start of the week, but the Argentinian was unable to stop a rampant SIPG from notching up a convincing win.
After a goalless first half, three goals in four minutes just before the hour mark from Hulk, Wu and Odil Ahmedov put SIPG in command only for Tevez to pull one back in the 61st minute.
But two minutes later Wu claimed his second to cap a remarkable seven-minute period, with Oscar and Hulk scoring in the final 15 minutes to give SIPG a convincing win and condemn Shenhua to a fifth league defeat in a row.
"The first half was really tight, our opponent didn't give us much room," said Villas-Boas. "The first goal in the second half was crucial. After that Shenhua gave too much space to us and that was the main reason for the big scoreline.
"This match has shown our quality and this big win means a lot to us. I am quite satisfied with everyone. Now Shenhua is in difficult moment, and it is not easy for any coach taking over. I hope Shenhua can find its way soon."
The win completed a positive week for SIPG, who advanced to the semifinals of the Asian Champions League during the week with a penalty shootout win over Guangzhou, who still lead the league standings and are due to face Jiangsu Suning on Sunday.
"We still have the theoretical chance of winning the Chinese Super League title," said Villas-Boas.
"Even if we can't nail down the trophy, we have to make sure to get second place. We might use players in rotation in the game against Beijing in order to have core players get ready for the Asian Champions League match against Urawa."
Meanwhile, Manuel Pellegrini's Hebei CFFC handed Liaoning Whowin a 2-1 defeat to move into third place, one point ahead of Tianjin Quanjian, who won 2-1 against Chongqing Lifan.
Eran Zahavi scored his 25th goal in 25 league games to secure all three points for Guangzhou R&F against Beijing Guoan as Dragan Stojkovic's side remain in the hunt for a place in next year's Asian Champions League while Shandong Luneng were held to a 1-1 draw by Yanbian Funde.