Michael Owen made a welcome appearance at St James' Park as Newcastle United sealed their place in this summer's Intertoto Cup but the fact that the England striker was wearing his best suit, rather than his No 10 shirt, will be of great concern to Sven Goran Eriksson.
Negotiating a post-season lap of honour is quite different to contesting a World Cup fixture against Paraguay and time is running out for a former European Footballer of the Year desperate to take his place on football's greatest stage. Newcastle's caretaker manager Glenn Roeder, who is facing his own summer of uncertainty, was guarded in his suggestion that there is still a possibility Owen will play a key role in Germany.
"Michael didn't make the bench against Chelsea because he wasn't 100 per cent happy with his foot," explained Roeder. "He's done some light training this week but there's still a dull ache which is troubling him.
"There have been no more visits to the surgeon, no more scans and no more x-rays and it is just a case of being patient. There is still time for him to make the World Cup. Until Michael has played a couple of 90-minute games without any reaction it would only be natural to worry. There has to be some concern but there's no need to be hysterical."
Owen has been told to forget a cameo during Alan Shearer's benefit match on Thursday but Eriksson is keen to include the former Liverpool striker against Belarus in an England B match at Madejski Stadium on 25 May.
Owen's absence from Roeder's 16 against Chelsea utterly overshadowed a fixture which exploded after a tame first half. Newcastle central defender Titus Bramble's 73rd minute winner was cruel on the visitors but when, minutes later, full back Stephen Carr was shown a red card for a challenge on Blues' midfielder Lassana Diarra the champions failed to capitalise.
If Carr was correctly dismissed then Mourinho was adamant the full back should have been joined in the dressing room by colleagues Celestine Babayaro and Jean-Alain Boumsong.
Babayaro escaped with a caution after tripping Arjen Robben with the Dutchman through on goal, while Boumsong charged into the Chelsea defender, Ricardo Carvalho, when attempting to clear a corner.
"Arjen is lucky that he is still going to the World Cup," said Mourinho. "Babayaro's was a red card offence in any country, in any division and on any pitch. Boumsong would have conceded a penalty in any country, in any division and on any pitch. He didn't look for the ball and just jumped into Carvalho.
"People cannot think that just because we are champions we don't want to win. We want the same chances as our opponents, that is all. This was not a normal game of football.
Goal: Bramble (73) 1-0.
Newcastle (4-4-2): Given; Carr, Moore, Bramble, Babayaro; Solano (Boumsong, 31), Faye, Emre, N'Zogbia; Ameobi, Chopra (Clark, 78). Substitutes not used: Harper, Elliott, Pattison.
Chelsea (5-4-1): Pidgeley; Johnson, Huth (Wright-Phillips, 46), Carvalho (Smith, 81), Gallas, Ferreira; J Cole, Maniche, Diarra, Robben; Duff (C Cole, 46). Substitutes not used: Mancienne.
Booked: Chelsea Maniche, Carvalho. Newcastle N'Zogbia, Babayaro, Emre, Moore.
Sent off: Newcastle Carr .
Referee: M Riley (Leeds).
Man of the match: Maniche.
Attendance: 52,309Reuse content