Willian’s curling free kicks bring back joyous memories of watching Gianfranco Zola lift balls over walls and into nets.

But the little Brazilian’s late winner on Wednesday night against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League may prove his most important.

It led to a prolonged cheering ovation, both for Willian and beleaguered manager Jose Mourinho. There’s no doubt the fans want Mourinho to stay a Blue.

These are edgy times at the Bridge, but that goal eased the pressure ahead of a tough trip to Stoke on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho’s telling glance to his wife and daughter just behind the dugout spoke volumes.

No one wants to see Mourinho go, partly because the pool of talent capable of filling his shoes is as small as Tottenham’s trophy cabinet, and partly because the man is box office.

Yet from the moment he was handed a new four-year contract in the summer, the Special One has been the Unhinged One.

Preoccupied, tetchy, snappy and brooding, he seems to have lost the joie de vivre which has made Chelsea so enjoyable for so long.

The “everyone’s against me” stance is amusing in small doses, and has been successfully employed in the past to take the spotlight off underperforming players.

But when it turns into paranoia, it starts to look embarrassing.

Willian’s Wednesday winner capped a man-of-the-match performance from the one Chelsea player who has grown in stature since the summer. The worry is the collective form of the rest of them.

Chelsea’s match against Stoke is pivotal to the future relationship between the club and its most successful manager, and Mourinho’s hot-headedness means he will watch from the stands at the Britannia stadium.

After Stoke there is another fortnight’s break – for a critical England friendly against France... a match as meaningless as its timing is irritating.

Chelsea need momentum if they are to keep the most inspiring leader in the club’s history.