It was a routine home victory for Chelsea and yet anything but a normal afternoon at Stamford Bridge as the consequences of Jose Mourinho’s sacking poured out during their 3-1 win over Sunderland.
The response from the players was immediate – the Blues were two up inside 13 minutes courtesy of Branislav Ivanovic and Pedro – as Mourinho’s replacement Guus Hiddink watched on from the stands.
SEE MORE: New Chelsea manager: Guus Hiddink reappointed as Jose Mourinho replacement
But the home supporters were not as quick in forgetting the Special One. They booed the majority of their own team, making it clear with whom they placed the blame for their fall from grace this term.
Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, who was recalled by caretaker manager Steve Holland, were notably targeted by the Stamford Bridge faithful as they were substituted midway through the second half.
By that point the Londoners had already wrapped up victory. Oscar’s penalty early in the second half suggested a potential rout, but Fabio Borini replied for Sunderland to keep Chelsea in check.
There was a strange mixture of relief and frustration in the terraces early on as two of the players who were guilty of greatly under-performing under Mourinho found the net before the quarter hour.
SEE MORE: Branislav Ivanovic goal video: Chelsea take 5 minutes to respond to Mourinho sacking
Mourinho kept faith with Ivanovic throughout his sticky patch at the start of the campaign with little reward. The Serbian met a fifth-minute corner with a towering header for his first goal since February.
Pedro had gone 11 league matches without scoring since a debut goal against West Bromwich Albion, and doubled Chelsea’s lead when he thrashed into the roof of the net left footed from 12 yards out.
The hosts could not retain their flying start but continued to dominate the first half, which ended with them having 73% possession. Costa should have scored with a back-post header from Pedro’s cross.
Chelsea did have a third five minutes into the second half. Willian was clumsily tripped by Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon and Oscar rolled in cooly from the spot for just his second of the term.
SEE MORE: Pedro goal video v Sunderland: Chelsea rub salt into Mourinho’s wounds
Mourinho’s name was still being sung around the ground despite his former players putting on a show, although ex-Chelsea striker Borini pulled one back for the Black Cats within three minutes.
Thibaut Courtois parried a header into the Italian’s path, and he bundled the ball in from close range to score for the first time since joining Sunderland permanently from Liverpool in the summer.
Jermain Defoe had a couple of chances to set up an interesting finish, but Chelsea appeared the more likely to add to the scoring in the latter stages as they ended a three-match winless run.
The victory lifts the surrendering champions up to 15th in the table, four points above the relegation zone, where Sunderland remain, above only Aston Villa, after a third successive top-flight defeat.
Video: Chelsea stalwarts BOOED as Stamford Bridge points finger for Mourinho AXE
Revealed: Which game sacked Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is attending today
Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas pushed for Chelsea to sack Jose Mourinho