Football: We've been here before with Chelsea — a dispirited squad seemingly rejuvenated by a new man at the helm.
Three years ago it was Guus Hiddink who changed their fortunes in the league, leading Chelsea to FA Cup glory along the way.
And on Saturday Roberto di Matteo, their former midfielder and winner of the trophy as a player, became the toast of west London after his side saw off Liverpool in a tightly contested encounter at Wembley Stadium.
Liverpool’s players were left hurting, especially after clawing their way back into the match when they had seemed dead and buried.
Chelsea, however, wanted it more and certainly deserved not to have this triumph taken from them.
As their supporters rejoiced at the final whistle di Matteo, who has experienced just two defeats in his 18 matches in charge, ran onto the pitch to embrace his players.
When the dust settles a season that is sure to live long in the collective memory of the Chelsea support, Blues owner Roman Abramovich will have to get on with the business of finding a permanent successor to Andre Villas-Boas.
One senses that his job will be made harder, not easier, if di Matteo is able to guide his side past Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
For all his merits, the Italian does not fit the profile of the kind of manager Chelsea go for.
But completing the campaign with a cup double, including the one that has eluded the Russian billionaire since he came on the scene in 2003, will surely see di Matteo in with a serious shout of a long-term appointment.
“The boss [Abramovich] will make a decision at the end of the season,” said di Matteo.
“I’m very relaxed about it and the players will be fine.
“I am very pleased with my position until the end of the season. The boss will then make a decision he feels is best for the club and we will respect that.”
Chelsea have looked much stronger under di Matteo and brought their league form into this match.
Against a poor Liverpool side they took a two-goal lead through Ramires and the evergreen Didier Drogba, and never looked back.
Liverpool’s lack of ingenuity and craft in the midfield areas was to contribute to the relative ease with which Chelsea’s players were able to undo their opponents.
By the time that Andy Carroll was introduced, in the 54th minute, Liverpool had capitulated for the second time in the match.
The much-maligned striker pulled a goal back shortly after coming on and nearly scored another, only to be denied by a fabulous reaction save from Petr Cech in the 81st minute — but Chelsea held on.
For Kenny Dalglish, who will have to make do with guiding Liverpool to League Cup success this season, he now needs to pick his players up and ensure that Liverpool continue their transformation over the summer.
“They’ve been in two cup finals in this season — they’ll have enjoyed the first one more than the second,” he said.
“The lads will benefit from the experience. You can’t give a team like Chelsea a two-goal head start.”