Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti was left pondering what might have been after Didier Drogba delivered a devastating performance to down West Bromwich Albion.
Drogba scored one and set up another in the 3-1 win at the Hawthorns on Saturday, as Chelsea dominated their West Midlands opponents in a way that evoked memories of the beginning of their campaign.
Ancelotti had left Drogba on the bench for their Champions League quarter-final second-leg loss to Manchester United on Tuesday.
But against West Brom it was £50 million ($81.6m) man Fernando Torres' turn to sit in the dugout, as Drogba was played on his own for the first time since the Spanish World Cup winner's arrival at Stamford Bridge.
"Should I have started with Drogba (against United)? Maybe, but this is in the past. I had my thoughts about this but it is in the past and we have to look forward," Ancelotti said.
"We showed good character. It was not easy coming here, showing good character and good personality when we conceded a goal. We maintained very good composure."
Many considered Torres' arrival as the beginning of the end of Drogba's reign as Chelsea's top striker, but Ancelotti begs to differ.
"We did not bring Torres just as Drogba's replacement," he added. "Both are fantastic players and Torres will get his chance.
"Didier played very well and we played very well as a team. He has a body that I think he can continue for a long time. He has to continue to train well and be professional.
"But for a player over 30 it is very important to keep control of his body and do everything to maintain his fitness."
The win, in which Chelsea came from behind following Peter Odemwingie's strike, puts them one point behind second-placed Arsenal in the Premier League.
Drogba scored Chelsea's first after pouncing on Nicky Shorey's error. He then had another shot saved by Scott Carson, but the rebound fell into the path of Salomon Kalou for the second.
Frank Lampard added the third just before half-time, while Torres had a late effort ruled out for offside.
On Chelsea's title hopes, Ancelotti said: "Whether the title is realistic or not, I don't know but we have a very clear aim -- to win the next six games and try to do our best."
Roy Hodgson's six-game unbeaten run since he took over as manager at The Hawthorns came to an abrupt end.
But he was philosophical about the defeat, while refusing to blame Carson for his failure to hang on to Drogba's shot ahead of Chelsea's second goal.
Hodgson said: "We have had a wonderful spell, now we have to learn how to lose. The Swedes have a saying: 'No tree grows to heaven'.
"We have been reminded that we are a very ordinary birch in the middle of West Bromwich and not Jack and the Beanstalk.
"I don't think you should get into a stage where you are happy to absorb any defeat. We should be looking all the time to analyse why and analyse what we could have done better.
"We have played Arsenal and Liverpool here so we shouldn't be sitting back and thinking, 'It doesn't matter because it was Chelsea'. We have to look at what went wrong and make certain we get back on track."