José Mourinho paced his technical area, wrapped up in long coat and scarf, wearing the scowl of a man still rather dissatisfied with his lot but Chelsea's response to a sluggish opening in their Champions League campaign had been emphatic. Steaua Bucharest were swatted aside 4-0, all that trauma endured against Basel a fortnight ago exorcised. The manager spoke of having "cleansed" that result, with the 2012 winners up and running.
This was admittedly a mismatch against the whipping boys elect of Group E and, to that end, should be considered with an element of caution. However there was a vibrancy to Chelsea's play, both as they unpicked their hosts in the first half and then bit into them on the break thereafter, that bodes well. Steaua, trampled underfoot by Ramires' display in midfield in particular, had no answer. They will be this season's Nordsjaelland. Already, the back-to-back games with Schalke in Chelsea's next two fixtures when this competition resumes later this month loom as key.
The Germans continue to defy sluggish domestic form to top the section, their win in Basel impressive despite interruptions from abseiling Greenpeace protestors at St Jakob Park, and they will better test Chelsea's capabilities.
This was a stroll in the chill of the Romanian autumn, the visitors' dominance established in the opening exchanges and maintained throughout. Their trio of creators unsettled Steaua, with Juan Mata, so revitalised since that run-out at Swindon last week, and Oscar dragging the locals' back line from their comfort zone. "Mata played No10, he played No7, he played very well with the ball as he always does, and very good without the ball, as he never did," said Mourinho.
If the manager has been proved right with his Spanish playmaker, he will be just as encouraged by André Schürrle's display, the German having wreaked havoc down the left flank with his delivery – so unpredictable and occasionally wild at first, ever more accurate as the thrashing played out. Poor Daniel Georgievski, the Steaua right-back, was a broken man by the time his number went up 19 minutes from time. He may endure sleepless nights haunted by images of Schürrle gliding past him and a comical own goal, in the weeks to come. "People understand the quality André has, getting balls in space and to his feet to attack the defender," said Mourinho. "The kid was very strong."
The opener had stemmed from Schürrle's dart down the flank, his cross into the six-yard box aimed at Samuel Eto'o, on as a substitute for the injured Fernando Torres, only for the ball to rear up from his first touch. He swung his left leg regardless, the shot rather scuffed but still disorientating panicked home defenders, and there was the marauding Ramires to burst through the middle and conjure a cute flick over the on-rushing Ciprian Tatarusanu.
There was to be no recovery from the hosts. Steaua drummed up some frantic pressure as the interval approached only to be outdone on the counterattack, Ashley Cole and Mata sending Eto'o charging into enemy territory with the Romanians' back-line utterly ramshackle. The Cameroonian cut inside Iasmin Latovlevici and saw his low shot pushed out by Tatarusanu only for Georgievski, running at full pace, to smash the rebound inadvertently beyond the prone goalkeeper. The full-back ended up with the ball in the back of the net. His own evening would continue to unravel.
He was spun by Schürrle in the build-up to the third, left a dithering mess on the touchline as the German found Oscar with his pass. The Brazilian, who would later clip the bar, slid a pass inside Latovlevici for Ramires, bursting unchecked into space once again, to thrash his second beyond Tatarusanu. Mourinho made a point of congratulating Schürrle's contribution. The mind boggles as to how he would have celebrated had Mata not thumped against the post after Oscar's outrageous backheel between opponents in a cluttered penalty area moments later.
Lampard's fourth, guided in on off the woodwork in stoppage time, summed up Chelsea's dominance, their upbeat tempo admirable given the early disruption suffered with Torres's withdrawal with knee ligament damage sustained after 36 seconds. Yet, if that had represented a downbeat start, the evening proved more upbeat.
"I put the players under a lot of pressure for this game, and they coped well," added Mourinho. "They used that as a motivation. I don't want to play in the Europa League, but I also thought that was a way they can grow up faster, faced with that pressure.
"Sometimes you need bigger challenges. But they coped very well, were beautiful in attacking areas, but everything started at the back. David Luiz [made] zero mistakes all game. John [Terry], Ashley [Cole], [Branislav] Ivanovic gave big stability there. And, from there, the team could cope with the situation." The Portuguese's mood has improved.