Perhaps it was the raucous chorus of José Mourinho's name, summoned initially by those in the Matthew Harding stand but soon taken up by the majority, as players and coaches waited to re-enter for the lap of appreciation that persuaded Rafael Benítez this was no time to brave the arena one last time. The din must have reverberated round the tunnel, inescapable and deafening. A couple of post-season friendlies on the other side of the Atlantic aside, this acrimonious marriage of convenience is over.

This was an afternoon of farewells, whether delivered by Paulo Ferreira after a decade at Chelsea, or David Moyes after 4,083 days and 518 games in charge of Everton. Those relationships were forged on longevity, demanding of the respect demonstrated by the supporters even if Moyes was almost matter-of-fact about his own leaving of Goodison for Manchester United. There was no celebratory cake or champagne in the dressing room post-match, even if the outgoing manager of 11 years insisted he would make sure his players "buy me a drink" on the train back to Lime Street.

Benítez's situation was very different. His seven-month tenure had been fraught from the outset, the level of abuse to which he was subjected only subsiding once it became clear he would not be ushered on his way prematurely after that infamous press conference at Middlesbrough in February.

His players paraded the Europa League trophy on the pitch after securing third place here, both achievements that would normally merit acclaim, but the interim manager remained inside while his coaching staff joined the joyous throng out on the turf. Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ferreira all took the microphone in the centre-circle, but no one mentioned the manager. "That was for the players and their families," said Benítez, the implication being why should he risk souring the atmosphere by simply joining in?

There had been a couple of banners – "Thank you Rafa, job done" read one in the Shed end, with the other more of a felt-tip on A4 offering – that hinted at a warming to the Spaniard, though he preferred to take solace in the messages left on his blog. "I received hundreds of messages on the website saying thank you very much, people appreciating what we were trying to do," he said. "I think they have changed. After Middlesbrough you could feel a lot more support for the team. Players have said things privately to me, too."

David Luiz was prepared to go public. "We want to say 'thank you' because he was an amazing coach for the team," he said. "I learnt a lot from him and he's a professional guy. People said bad things about him but not many coaches can do what he does. He goes with a title and with us in the Champions League next year." There has been no message of thanks as yet from the absent Roman Abramovich but with a week-long trip to the US east coast to come, there is still time.

Mourinho, who should be confirmed in mid-June, once his departure from Real Madrid is smoothed, will inherit "a fantastic side" who improved under Benítez.

Fernando Torres registered the winner, rasping a first Premier League goal since 23 December – 19 hours and 39 minutes previously – inside Tim Howard's near-post from Victor Moses' knockdown as Chelsea, so leggy through the first period, ensured game No69 of term ended on a high. They had led early courtesy of Juan Mata's 20th of a personal 64-match marathon of a campaign, the Spaniard capitalising on Howard's error to convert a rebound, with Oscar outstanding in driving them back into the contest.

Yet Everton were still unfortunate to emerge without reward. They had been the dominant team before the interval, their response immediate to falling behind courtesy of David Luiz's error and Steven Naismith's smartly taken goal. Darron Gibson struck a post, Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar menaced down the left, while Nikica Jelavic passed up three late chances. In the end, Moyes failed to win any of his 46 league games at Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and United, though, in the context of Everton's years of toil before his arrival and their budget even now, his 11-year tenure has been a sustained exercise in over-achievement.

"I'm sad to be leaving," he admitted. "I've brought in every one of those players apart from Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert, and I hope every one of them thinks it was worthwhile signing on to the project, challenging the big clubs even though everyone thought it was impossible given our resources. We gave it a really good go."

He will be back at Finch Farm next week "to make sure everything's in place for whoever comes in". Michael Laudrup's agent was here and told the Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright, his client wishes to remain at Swansea for at least one more season. Phil Neville, whose playing contract expires next month, was all animated instruction as if auditioning for the role from the front row of the press box. Whoever comes in has a hard act to follow. Mourinho and many of the fans may not admit it, but the same may apply at Chelsea post-Benítez.

Man of the match Oscar (Chelsea)