Chelsea turned in their best display under interim manager Rafael Benitez with a second-half Capital One Cup destruction of old enemies Leeds at Elland Road.
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Searching questions had been asked of the Spaniard after Chelsea took just five points from four Barclays Premier League games since he replaced Roberto Di Matteo late last month.
But after Wednesday night's 5-1 win thanks to goals from Juan Mata, Branislav Ivanovic, Victor Moses, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres, the former Liverpool manager could not hide his relief.
Benitez, whose side only returned from Japan on Monday afternoon after losing in the final of the Club World Cup, said: "I'm pleased with the way that we won and pleased because we came back from Japan with jet lag, sleeping too much, players tired and still the performance was fantastic.
"The first half was very good, the second half was amazing. Coming back we needed to see the fitness of the players and we had to decide to change some of them, so to have this reaction, being mentally ready and after working so hard and playing so well, I'm really pleased with them."
Leeds took the lead in the first half through Luciano Becchio, but Mata equalised two minutes into the second period before a devastating four-goal spell in 19 minutes ended any hopes Neil Warnock's side had of adding Chelsea to their list of Premier League scalps, which included Southampton and Everton.
Prompted by the steadying influence of Frank Lampard in midfield, Chelsea set up a semi-final clash with Swansea, but Benitez was reluctant to pick out individuals.
"I don't like to talk about just one player," he said. "We started with Petr (Cech), Victor Moses and Marko Marin - it was difficult for him without playing too many games to come and perform - and the team was tired.
"Oscar was doing very well and (Ryan) Bertrand and the team was so good that I don't think it's fair to talk about just one player.
"If we talk about the second half, we are closer than in other games. The team is improving in every game and still we know we have to balance the squad a little bit just in case as we have a lot of games and need good players in all the positions."
On the clash with Swansea, Benitez added: "To win trophies is important for any manager and the first thing is to concentrate on the semi-final and after the final we can talk about what it means."
Lampard revealed a dressing-room discussion at half-time sparked Chelsea's revival.
"We upped it," said Lampard on Sky Sports News. "In the first half we weren't at our best, a bit slow with the tempo of the game and we gave a away silly goal that allowed them to score.
"Once we upped it with a bit of pace in our game you could see a big difference.
"We had a word with ourselves at half-time."
The journey from Japan did not appear to take any toll in the second half, especially once Mata equalised just a minute after the restart.
Lampard said: "We didn't make the greatest preparation but there's no excuse, we had to up it.
"The early goal gave us the impetus, we believed from then on and we didn't think we could lose the game.
"Some of the football we played, we opened them up and showed what we could do."
Warnock felt his side had been well worth their half-time lead after Becchio had stroked home winger Jerome Thomas' fine cross, but that Chelsea were full of world-class players.
"I'm disappointed because I thought if Tom Lees' header had gone in just before half-time, it would have made it 2-0 and very difficult for them, but overall we made it a difficult night for them and played some good football," Warnock said.
"The noise volume when we scored, I've never heard anything like it. If Leeds sort themselves out...
"But a slip cost us the equaliser and quickly after it you've got world-class players relieved to actually be drawing a game they should be 2-0 down in and then that was the end of the story really.
"We kept going for an hour, but after that their quality shone through."