• David Moyes gets the response he asked for from team
• Carlo Ancelotti's side come up short again in shoot-out
First, some perspective. Chelsea were not dismal as they slipped out of the FA Cup for the first time in three years. They created enough chances in normal time to have claimed the tie and smoothed progress into the fifth round, and led into the last minute of extra-time with the clock ticking down. Had they prevailed the critical focus would have reverted to Merseyside and the damage inflicted on Evertonian pride and ambition.
Yet, instead, the memory of this occasion will be far less of the London club's industry and endeavour, and almost entirely on the holders' utter inability to deflate stubborn opponents whose conviction, so battered by Bolton the previous weekend, suddenly seems unshakeable. "That's probably a bigger win for us than it would have been for Chelsea," David Moyes said. "If they'd come through the shoot-out, they'd have been glad to have got through the tie. But it was about much more than just that for Everton."
This was the Scot's day. Moyes has had a few at Carlo Ancelotti's expense over the past 18 months but needed this fillip more than ever. The sense of doom and gloom that had been whipped up by a pathetic showing at the Reebok Stadium the previous weekend – a performance to highlight this side's underachievement this season – was deposited gratefully in south-west London, discarded amid a flurry of Tim Howard saves, a glorious free-kick from Leighton Baines and a shoulder barge from John Heitinga that pushed the boundaries of gamesmanship but may have contributed to Ashley Cole's horrible penalty miss in the shoot-out.
Everton have made amends for the aberration at Bolton. Further progress in this competition, with Reading to visit Goodison Park on 1 March, would make up in part for the team's failings in the Premier League. Regardless, Moyes departed Stamford Bridge with his enthusiasm renewed.
"Any manager of a team who had produced that performance last Sunday would have been upset," said Phil Neville, whose calmly taken fifth penalty confirmed the win. "He made us sit through the video and we hadn't realised ourselves until then just how poor it was. It wasn't an Everton performance. We didn't get to the ball, we didn't show the togetherness Everton are famous for, and that was what he was looking for at Chelsea."
Baines spoke of the need for a timely show of spirit. "We hadn't had enough fight but we reacted and showed we had the will to put that right," the full-back said. "We fought and played for each other and got our reward. It was a matter of everyone getting on the same page. It doesn't take much, just needs everyone to acknowledge the various problems and show the desire to put them right."
The sight of those on the visiting bench linked together during the shoot-out offered a very public show of unity. Chelsea's coaching staff and unused substitutes preferred to maintain their own personal space as the drama unfolded and, while that could hardly be deemed significant, it lends itself to obvious conclusions with the benefit of hindsight.
While Everton have hope again, Chelsea have now slipped back into dejected introspection. This was a disappointing warm-up to the return to Champions League competition but, while Ancelotti could take some satisfaction in his team's persistence, their inability to finish off opponents is worrying.
The Italian admitted in the aftermath that he had recognised the danger signs for the team's campaign "after the defeat against Birmingham", a game Chelsea had dominated only to lose 1-0. That was on 20 November, over three months ago. Answers are still elusive.
That, in itself, is truly damning. More is expected of Ancelotti and, at times, he is appearing a rather helpless figure on the sidelines. Since the owner's £71.6m splurge on transfer-deadline day, the team have dominated possession well enough but been beaten by Liverpool, drawn at Fulham (where Petr Cech saved a stoppage-time penalty) and now surrendered the FA Cup. Frank Lampard's reward in extra-time represents the only goal scored in those matches. The oligarch has not been present in person, but he can hardly be content with the way results have stuttered so horribly.
At any other time, a Champions League knockout tie against Scandinavian opponents in uncharted territory would represent an opportunity, but Tuesday's inhospitable game in Copenhagen suddenly feels awkward and unwelcome. Maybe their luck will turn soon but time is ticking down on their season. Ancelotti, more than ever, needs a response similar to that mustered by Everton at his expense here.