When Chelsea faced Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final, the pre-match press conference was pure theatre.
Jose Mourinho was on top form, speaking with an air of confidence as he all but predicted his team would march on in the competition at the Parisians' expense.
Behind the bravado there was a plan, and it worked: Thanks to Demba Ba and his late winner, Chelsea lived to fight another day in football's ultimate competition.
And now here we are, on the eve of the biggest game since Mourinho's Chelsea return, eagerly anticipating another tense European night at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho remained his mischievous self when he spoke to the media ahead of Atletico Madrid's visit, but the tone was slightly more serious than it had been when PSG were in town.
A few weeks ago, nobody expected Chelsea to overturn their two-goal deficit, and Mourinho reveled in it. Now, after a goalless draw at the Vicente Calderon Stadium last week, they are on the brink of reaching the final, where they will face Real Madrid.
The subplots are plenty: Mourinho against his former employers, Carlo Ancelotti against his; Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Eden Hazard, Real's style up against Chelsea's pragmatism.
Before Chelsea can think of that, however, they must defeat Atletico.
Given he succumbed twice to Liverpool in Champions League semi-finals during his first spell in charge, Mourinho is all too aware of the dangers a semi-final can bring. He suffered similar upsets with Real.
He'll say otherwise, but failing to reach the final all those years ago with Chelsea is something that continues to frustrate him, and a major reason for his return last summer is to right those wrongs.
Chelsea's manager isn't the only man at Stamford Bridge with unfinished business in the Champions League, either.
To his right in the Harris Suite in Stamford Bridge's West Stand sat Chelsea's captain, leader, legend, John Terry—a man Mourinho described as deserving a better hand in the Champions League.
"I think [Terry] deserves more than what the Champions League gives to him until now," suggested Mourinho in the press conference.
"He lost a few semi-finals in special circumstances, he lost the final also in special circumstances and he won the final also in special circumstances because he couldn't play the final.
"I think the Champions League owes him something."
It's a valid point.
This season we have seen support grow at a canter for Liverpool to be crowned Premier League champions.
The media has described the Reds as the people's favourite, with the club's own captain Steven Gerrard the main reason behind the romance that continues to simmer.
Gerrard has never won the Premier League. It's the one trophy he is still to lift as a Liverpool player, and with the years counting down on his career, this season has an air of now or never about it.
If that's so, then it's no different for Terry.
The Englishman has given so much for his club this past decade that to finish his career without the honour of leading the Blues up the podium to collect the Champions League trophy is something that will haunt him for ever.
Moscow 2008 saw him slip to miss the penalty that would have sealed victory in the shootout against Manchester United, while his own folly in receiving an avoidable red card against Barcelona in the 2012 semi-final meant he was a mere observer like any other Chelsea fan in Munich.
Then there were those semi-final losses to Liverpool and Barcelona—painful.
For a player who has been so vital, he deserved to have a bigger role than a glorified cheerleader that night in Munich. Instead, it's Frank Lampard—a player equally as vital to the Chelsea cause—who has gone down in history as the first captain to lift the European Cup in Chelsea colours.
Even last season, injury kept Terry out of the Europa League final.
Like Mourinho, Terry is desperate to change his fortunes in Europe. When he walked out for the press conference, sitting alongside his manager, it was all the evidence we needed for how motivated the pair are.
These events are always used to gauge the mood at each club, for the media to get an understanding of where they stand on proceedings.
Just by sitting there together, we got the message.
Mourinho spoke of his team being ready, and who best to represent that notion than his captain?
Chelsea mean business against Atletico, and if they come through the tie as victors, it will be a moment inspired in no small part by the disappointments from the past.
The history books tell it well, and Terry and Mourinho are going all out to rewrite them.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes.
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