Jose Mourinho has enjoyed some remarkable days at Stamford Bridge — in fact it took him 78 matches to even lose a game there as manager — but as he returns to west London with struggling Manchester United today, he will be aware of some pretty painful memories, not least two sackings after poor performances at a ground he once called home.
Antonio Conte left Wembley with another piece of silverware and the love of the Chelsea faithful ringing in his ears on Saturday, the self-proclaimed “serial winner” who wore the look of a man who knows he is about to move on.
Antonio Conte’s damning and withering verdict of Chelsea’s performance as they threw away two points against West Ham has left even more question marks hanging over his future - with any hope of Champions League football next season now looking forlorn.
Chelsea produced the kind of attacking performance in Europe that Manchester United fans were screaming for 24 hours earlier, but found centurion Lionel Messi was still too good for them, as they lost 3-0 in the Nou Camp in what was the harshest of Champions League lessons.
And then there were four. Four games and 12 points which Pep Guardiola and Manchester City require to make mathematically certain of the Premier League title after Bernardo Silva’s goal allowed his team to open up an 18-point lead at the top of the table.
Yesterday’s game was a painful watch — the chasm in quality looked as big as the points difference between ourselves and City. And the final Champions League place is slipping further out of reach with every game.
Antonio Conte may have seen his long-running feud with Jose Mourinho come to an end at Old Trafford but it may also have been the afternoon when the Chelsea manager saw his team’s hopes of a Champions League place similarly disappear into thin air.
Chelsea’s poor form since Christmas has gone almost under the radar. It has seen us fall from third on the coattails of United to fifth and the ignominy of following another league-winning season by failing to qualify for the Champions League.