Jose Mourinho described his return to Chelsea as "perfect" after his Internazionale team beat his former club 1-0 to go through to the Champions League quarter-finals 3-1 on aggregate.
Mourinho, who is the most successful manager in Chelsea history, marked his return to the west London club with a tactical masterclass. His side totally dominated a disappointing Chelsea, whose frustration at another European exit boiled over when Didier Drogba was sent off with four minutes left for stamping on Thiago Motta.
The volatile striker may face subsequent disciplinary action from Uefa as he still has a two-game suspended ban hanging over him following his abusive reaction to last season's defeat to Barcelona at the semi-final stage. He could conceivably be banned for the first four games of next season's competition.
Mourinho said Drogba's frustration was understandable because Chelsea knew they had been outplayed by Inter, after a run of 21 home games unbeaten in the Champions League. The Inter manager said: "We were the best team by far. Sometimes you win because you were the best team from the first to last minute. That team was my team. Every player performed at the highest level, this must be almost a perfect performance. We deserve so much this victory, we were the best team.
"They [Chelsea] were frustrated, because they felt immediately that Inter were the best team. That brought frustration to the players, great professionals and great people. My people will always be my people. But today I was the enemy. And the enemy won. That's life.
"It was difficult for me to come here as an enemy where my 'home' is, here at Chelsea. Yesterday someone asked me if I would still be special if I lost here. Today I'm not so special for Chelsea supporters, who will probably never forgive me."
Samuel Eto'o's goal in the 79th minute decided a match which Chelsea never looked like winning. The visitors had missed other chances to score, while the only time Carlo Ancelotti's side threatened came when Florent Malouda forced a fine save out of the Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Ancelotti was generous in defeat. "We were not able to play how we wanted. I think that Inter deserved to win this game," he said. "Inter put us under a lot of pressure, won the ball in midfield and were dangerous on the break, so there were only short periods in the game when we were in control."
Mourinho, who was sacked by the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, said Ancelotti would be given time because the Russian has learnt to be more patient with his managers. "Roman is a very intelligent person and, because of that, he's not the same person today than he was one year ago, two years, three years, five years ago," Mourinho said. "Probably he thought it would be easy when he arrived in football. It's not easy. It's difficult. He knows it's not easy."