Chelsea went some way to lifting the gloom at Stamford Bridge as they began their defence of the FA Cup with a crushing 7-0 win over Ipswich.
The win sets up a fourth round tie with Everton at Goodison Park.
The managerless visitors proved ideal cannon fodder for Carlo Ancelotti’s faltering double winners, who went into the game on their worst Premier League run for almost 15 years.
Ancelotti’s decision to continue last season’s policy of fielding some youngsters in the early rounds of the Cup did not backfire, with Daniel Sturridge and Frank Lampard scoring twice, Salomon Kalou also finding the net and Nicolas Anelka ending the personal goal drought that has coincided with Chelsea’s two months of misery.
Ancelotti, who handed rare starts to 17-year-old Josh McEachran and 20-year-old Patrick van Aanholt, will be praying the win helps inspire his established stars, like the rested Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole, to kick-start their ailing league campaign.