With smoke from the Basel fans' flares drifting across an unusually lush Stamford Bridge pitch, and with Chelsea's appearance in the Europa League final confirmed with half an hour of this semi-final second leg remaining, it was possible to detect a peculiar feeling swirling around a stadium that has endured an unusually fraught six months, even by the unusually fraught standards of the Roman Abramovich approach to long-term harmony. Unfamiliar but strangely uplifting: it might even have been something close to happiness on a night of Chelsea triumph marked as ever by a sense of imminent arrivals and departures.
Poor old Rafa Benítez, menaced at both ends of his interim reign by the sound of voices off. In the autumn it was those chants of "One Di Matteo". Here, as Chelsea struggled for 50 minutes to land a decisive glove on a spunky Basel team, it was the whispered return of the one before the one before the one before, as Chelsea's fans took pleasure in serenading José Mourinho – the manager of Real Madrid, and a man with whom Benítez in his most sweatily cherished homecoming fantasies perhaps dreams of swapping jobs.
What does Benítez have to do to get a shout out around here? If the abuse from the stands has dwindled to a lull, it appears that guiding the club towards the opportunity to win its fourth European trophy is still not enough to earn even the grudging favour of the Chelsea fans.
Not that Benítez will mind particularly: such is the bizarre and unsustainable narrative of conjoined interests at Stamford Bridge that his chief personal focus will surely have turned towards a high-visibility opportunity to win a fourth Uefa trophy of his own.
For Chelsea's hierarchy the goal will remain fourth place in the Premier League. Specifics of the manager's team rotation policy from here on in will make fascinating reading.
Either way, in Chelsea and fellow finalists Benfica we now have a final between two teams who did not want to be in the competition in the first place, one of whom is managed by a man basically playing for his own reputation.
It is a glorious muddle of competing interests, albeit as three sides of Stamford Bridge bounced to One Step Beyond there was a sense above it all that Chelsea's fans will simply be happy for the chance to hold, for 10 days only, both of Uefa's major trophies.
There was perhaps just a single minor chord as Frank Lampard, scoreless in his pursuit of Bobby Tambling's goal record, trudged off at the end with an extended wave to all four corners. If Lampard really is leaving Stamford Bridge he has only two more home games: feed in rotation and substitution, he might even have played his last 90 minutes here.
If there is an added sense of tension to Lampard's pursuit of that 43-year-old record it is simply that it chimes with a wider sense of endings and last things. They are a team who have already been partially renovated with the bolting on of its fluid and youthful attacking midfield tripod, represented here by Eden Hazard, who was again superbly mobile as the centre of an attacking trio alongside Victor Moses and Ramires.
The first chants for Mourinho began to ring around the ground as early as the ninth minute, as Lampard and David Luiz began to exert a nonchalant kind of grip on midfield. Quite what Mourinho would make of the Fulham Broadway Socrates, occasionally loopy, always grippingly watchable, is anybody's guess.
Lampard, though, remains prone to moments of match-turning influence and it was from his shot in the 50th minute, palmed out by Yann Sommer, that Fernando Torres scored a goal to settle the nerves after Basel had taken the lead at the end of the first half.
Chelsea's players celebrated hungrily as the Bridge began to bubble with a sense of ambient pre-final glee. And not before time too. The Premier League's belittling of the Europa League is entirely misplaced. This is a grand old trophy, regardless of the tangle of a format. More than this, it is a sniffiness that is entirely unearned: for all the Champions League highs, Liverpool are the only English winners of Europe's second trophy in the last 29 winners.
Chelsea's third goal just before the hour mark provided a tangible sense of release on a night when, for the first time, it was possible to glimpse some kind of mutual happy ending in what has been a wretchedly noxious interlude. Lampard's nudged pass was perfectly weighted for David Luiz to spank an outrageously swerved shot that bulged, and indeed threatened to remove, the top corner of the net.
Chelsea and Benítez, fellow travellers in one of football's oddest of odd-couple pairings, will now take their semi-mutual interests to Amsterdam for the final on 15 May, four days before a potentially decisive final Premier League fixture against Everton.
Take Chelsea home on both fronts and Benítez may yet earn the silent thanks – if never, it seems, the affection – of a set of supporters whose eyes are already elsewhere.