It was far from pretty, but no-one will look back on the artistic merits in months to come if Wednesday night's 1-0 victory over Roma turns out to be another stepping stone towards a Champions League final.
John Terry's first goal of the season - heading in a Frank Lampard corner 12 minutes from time - gave the Blues the edge over the Italians in a game of graft and attrition that was in stark contrast to many of the Blues' recent games.
Roma achieved what few opponents have done this season in stifling the midfield craft of Deco and the incursions from full-backs. Neither Wayne Bridge nor Jose Bosingwa made a telling impact andf Nicolas Anelka cut an isolated figure up front.
But even if Luiz Felipe Scolari craves a swashbuckling approach in most games, he will surely also appreciate the worth of nights such as this.
It is to their credit that the Blues found another way of getting the better of obstinate opponents - and they are still without a raft of major players, lest we forget.The reality is that Chelsea have taken a huge stride towards next year's knock-out stages.
Roma have started their season unimpressively. A 4-0 home defeat to Jose Mourinho's Inter at the weekend saw them plunge to 14th in Serie A. But they still possess experience and were able to clutter the areas in which Chelsea like to operate.
Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi worked hard at curbing Frank Lampard too and it would have been no surprise if the game had gone the way of a other games Chelsea have had to abandon as frustrating draws.
But Terry was having none of it. The skipper seems to have this competition as his Holy Grail now after his personal Moscow horror that will only ever be erased if he lifts the trophy one day.
He was at his most typically abrasive and influential, picking up a yellow card for a raised boot on Totti and frequently arguing with Greek referee Kyros Vassaras. But he was also the driving force behind a vital win.
"When I was the Portugal manager and we played against England, I was always afraid when Terry came up into our area at corner kicks," Scolari said.
"I'd say to my players: 'Look, this player can be decisive. We need to look out for him because, if he gets to the ball, it's dangerous for us. Now I'm here, I just tell Terry to go and do the same for me."
The good news also for Scolari is that Terry has recovered from the back injury that kept him out of England's recent World Cup qualifiers. And it may just be that the skipper's relentless will to win will be needed again on Sunday in the showdown with Liverpool at the Bridge - when another grafted and unpretty win would suit Chelsea just fine.