At one stage at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Carlo Ancelotti actually appeared to be in a rather precarious position.
The day had started with Ron Gourlay, the Chelsea chief executive, seemingly suggesting the Italian's future would be up for review in the summer and the pressure intensified when Fernando Torres trudged off after another fruitless 70 minutes.
Up in his private box, Roman Abramovich did not look happy. There was a shake of the head, the Russian clearly frustrated by the fact that his ?50million striker has now failed to score in seven games.
Heads, you win: Luiz celebrates after opening the scoring at Stamford Bridge
It was all the more significant because Abramovich has made so few appearances at Stamford Bridge since the turn of the year. Wednesday's goalless draw with Copenhagen was his first and this was his second. He clearly felt he was not getting his money's worth.
But then came a more than satisfying consolation prize. Two goals from the two other players Chelsea's owner has spent a sizeable sum of money on in the last 12 months first from the wonderful David Luiz and then from the rapidly improving Ramires. The boys from Brazil had served their paymaster well. Their manager, too.
In fairness to Chelsea, and indeed Ancelotti, it was no less than they deserved. The three points that edged them into third place were a reward for their ambition against an ultra-defensive Manchester City.
If Roberto Mancini did throw a suitcase at Mario Balotelli after his red card in the Europa League lastThursday, he did not throw much at Chelsea. Certainly not the kitchen sink.
Back of the net: Ramires doubled Chelsea's lead with a fantastic solo effort in injury time
True, he was hamstrung by the injury that kept Carlos Tevez on the sidelines. But the approach he employed was depressingly negative, not least when it came to the restrictions he imposed on his full-backs.
While Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic were forever attacking down the flanks, Micah Richards and Aleksandar Kolarov too often had to suppress their attacking instincts.
There were some fine performances. Vincent Kompany was superb at centre-half while Nigel de Jong was a destructive force in midfield. The irrepressible James Milner also impressed.
But the most telling moment for City came when Yaya Toure picked up an injury that forced him to come off. Mancini was intending to send on Dedryck Boyata until Luiz scored his 78th-minute goal and forced City's manager to be a touch more adventurous, unleashing Balotelli and Adam Johnson from the bench instead.
Compare that to Ancelotti. Not content with a goalless draw, he made two bold changes eight minutes before the breakthrough came from Luiz. Off came Torres and Florent Malouda and on went Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
While it was Luiz who earned the free-kick, for a foul by Richards, it was Drogba who delivered the ball that the South American met with a quite brilliant glancing header. On Sunday's evidence, Drogba looks a better bet than Torres at the moment. He posed a real threat from the moment he came on, his more physical approach putting City's back four under far more pressure.
Bad day at the office: Record signing Torres was substituted after failing to get on the scoresheet at his seventh attempt
For Torres, it was much more difficult and not just because he too often appeared isolated despite the best efforts of Ancelotti to provide him with the service that has been so lacking. This time Torres partnered Salomon Kalou and while the latter started brightly, they still struggled to click as a partnership.
In defence of all those who have played alongside Torres, the Spaniard's failure to score in 498 minutes of football for Chelsea is not just down to them. Torres still lacks theexplosive acceleration that has been missing since he picked up a nastyknee injury last season.
That said, it was not the principal reason why his best opportunity of the match was denied by a superb interception from De Jong.
It might have looked as though Torreshesitated but the ball from Kalou, a delightful flick, just lacked the weight to get him away from the Dutchman and so enable him to shoot withhis left foot.
Flat out: Terry receives treatment after picking up an injury in the win over rivals City
It was one of a number of chances Chelsea had in the first half. Kalou might have scored had he not been brought down inadvertently by Ramires and a fine challenge from Kompany also prevented Torres from breaking his duck.
There was little in response from City, although that had much to do with the sheer excellence of Luiz and John Terry, who are forming quite a partnership. They presented an impenetrable barrier in front of the dependable Petr Cech.
There was an anxious moment in the 53rd minute when Terry collided with Toure. Anxious, anyway, for the watching Fabio Capello. One can imagine the thoughts that passed throughthe England manager's mind. The embarrassment of having to go back to Frank Lampard and dare tell him that, despite the ridiculous events of the last week, he was really rather impressed with his performance as captain against Denmark.
Shine a light: Referee Chris Foy was targetted by a spectator with a laser
But Terry is nothing if not courageous and what pain there was soon subsided. You got the feeling onSunday that Ashley Cole could have shot his captain and he still would have played on.
Somebody in the crowd was directing agreen laser at Chris Foy, but it did not distract the referee enough tostop him awarding the all important free-kick for Chelsea.
Once Luiz had put Chelsea in front, City had to attack with more urgency and it was when they were chasing the game in second half stoppage time that Ramires doubled the home side's advantage.
It was a terrific goal, the Brazilianfirst surging past Joleon Lescott and then Kolarov before driving a right-foot shot beyond the reach of Joe Hart.
Pressure off Chelsea. Pressure off Ancelotti. For now, anyway.
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Explore more:People: Carlos Tevez, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Petr Cech, Fabio Capello, Frank Lampard, Mario Balotelli, Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart, Didier Drogba, James Milner, Roberto Mancini, Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres, Adam Johnson, Ashley Cole, Roman Abramovich, Carlo Ancelotti Places: Copenhagen, United Kingdom, Denmark, Brazil