Jose Mourinho enjoyed “my moment” after the Chelsea fans made their feelings towards him clear during the 2-1 win over Dynamo Kiev.
The adulation poured down from the stands on the self-proclaimed Special One, whose position appears perilous, and his Chelsea side eked out an unconvincing 2-1 win to ease the pressure a little.
Willian struck a decisive free-kick after Aleksandar Dragovic had cancelled out his own goal with a strike against the Blues.
Mourinho, who is in the worst period of two spells at Chelsea, compared the support favourably to his return in August 2013, when he was acclaimed by the partisan crowd.
“This is my moment, because it was amazing,” Mourinho said after Wednesday night’s match.
“The moment I came back to the club and we played the first match at home against Hull City, the way the stadium welcomed me was amazing, but not comparable with today.
“Today comes in a moment where the results are not good, it comes in a moment where you (the media) are asking for my end (sacking).
“(The fans) tried to say, ‘we want you here’ and probably they also want to say to all of you ‘we want him, let him work’.
“I don’t have another way to thank them than by giving everything I have, which I have always, which I will do always.
“It’s the only way to thank them for this reaction.”
Mourinho’s side won for just a second time in six matches since he was subject of the first vote of confidence of Roman Abramovich’s 12-year ownership on October 5.
The second win in Group G leaves their fate in their own hands ahead of a trip to Maccabi Tel-Aviv and a home clash with Porto, Mourinho’s former club.
Mourinho’s popularity was never in doubt, with supporters showing unwavering faith, sending a message to Abramovich and Mourinho’s watching family.
Mourinho’s son is a regular at matches, but his wife and daughter were also present, sitting behind the home dugout, which he may have been occupying for the final time had Chelsea lost.
“It’s my daughter’s birthday and if I don’t see her from the bench, I don’t see her all day,” Mourinho said.
“Because the day she was born I had a match and I was not there, at least when she was 19 I could give a look back and see her there.”
Results still must improve for a side which less than six months ago completed a Premier League and Capital One Cup double.
Saturday’s Premier League clash at Stoke could still be crucial for Mourinho’s future as the Blues have six defeats in 11 league games to sit 15th in the table.
As often is the case with Chelsea and Mourinho, the Dynamo win was not straightforward and there was a moment of controversy when Diego Costa was denied a penalty.
Mourinho, who has had numerous run-ins with officials this season and is subject of a stadium ban at Stoke, did not address the issue post-match, preferring to focus on the positives after an Asmir Begovic error had allowed Dynamo to equalise.
“To qualify we didn’t need a win. So it was not a drama, the 1-1,” Mourinho added.
“By the mental point of view it was important, a reaction to a negative moment.
“That was perfect because we conceded a goal with 15 minutes to go and the team emerged.”