Jose Mourinho waited until the coast was clear before breaking cover.
He had barricaded himself behind a sense of bravado ahead of the second leg of a Champions League quarter-final with Paris Saint-Germain, the Chelsea manager remarking that he expected his players to recover a two-goal deficit before retreating to the safety of the dugout last night. For 87 minutes the Portuguese peered out sullenly.
A seat in the technical area would provide a prime view of his prediction coming to fruition, as substitute Demba Ba forced a second goal into the net and Chelsea into the last four on the away goals rule. Stamford Bridge erupted as the striker stuck out a leg to turn the ball past goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu just minutes from the end. It acted as a starting pistol for Mourinho, the coach taking off down the touchline to revel with his players.
It was a dash reminiscent of that which followed Porto's advance to the knockout stages of this competition 10 years ago at the expense of Manchester United. Back then Mourinho ended up joining his players in celebration, but there was an element of restraint from the coach this time as he sought only to extract Andre Schurrle from a pile-on to deliver a few last, careful instructions.
The Special One duly returned to his dugout more timidly than he had a decade ago, as though recalling that his mammy had told him not to do anything to mess up his good trousers this time. There were still a few minutes of stoppage time to play, too.
Such final, fractious moments are not measured by standard unites of time. Rather it comes down to expletives counted out one after the other, or a series of exasperated breaths. There would be members of the home support almost hyperventilating as PSG shelled a late corner into the penalty area, which Petr Cech swatted away.
That punch likely felt therapeutic to the goalkeeper last night. Cech had been criticised for his part in a first-leg defeat; his Chelsea side having gone to Paris with the love of European competition and come home feeling rather jilted.
They sensed they had a chance of a semi-final date after just 32 minutes in London. A long throw was touched into the path of Schurrle and the German forward swept a shot into the net. He came close to adding a second goal after the break only for Sirigu to push the volley on to the crossbar.
It was a signal of intent from the home side but was made by a player who was not intended to figure so prominently. An injury suffered by Eden Hazard within 18 minutes led to the introduction of Schurrle.
Chelsea revelled in the arrival of their second substitute, midway through the second half. A place in the last four of the competition was the product of a flicked boot from Ba, or a right kick in the humbugs of PSG.
The goal sent Chelsea on their way, followed quickly by their manager.