Roberto Di Matteo admitted even he was shocked by Chelsea's ruthless dismantling of QPR that catapulted them right back into the frame to qualify for next season's Champions League via their league position.
Just five days after reaching next month's final with a sensational comeback at Barcelona, the Blues produced the polar opposite of a European hangover to crush Rangers 6-1, their biggest ever win in the west London derby.
It moved them to within a point of a top-four spot in the Barclays Premier League ahead of Wednesday's crunch clash with Newcastle.
Chelsea caretaker-manager Di Matteo said: "After a Champions League game in midweek, it always proves difficult in the next game in the Premier League. I'm very pleased with the way we played and the result.
"I have to say that the team surprised me as well. I wasn't expecting but I was hoping - they really put in a great performance."
No-one more so than man of the match Fernando Torres, who bagged the first hat-trick of his turbulent Chelsea career to give Di Matteo a real selection headache for the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Di Matteo said: "He was always working very hard for the team and putting assists in.
"We are a team and that's what you support, and it doesn't really matter who scores. I'm pleased for him today that he's scored the hat-trick.
"The confidence comes with the wins and, obviously for a striker, maybe a little bit with the goals as well. The whole team looks full of confidence."
Di Matteo was forced to play a makeshift defence due to injuries and suspensions and was coy about whether David Luiz would be fit for Newcastle.
He added: "We had an unusual back four and they did brilliantly to keep QPR at bay. It's great to see this team ethic and this team spirit from all these guys."
Asked if Chelsea had sent a message to their top-four rivals, Di Matteo said: "We just look after ourselves. That's the only thing we can influence. We have to try and win the next game to be able to have a chance of finishing fourth."
John Terry certainly sent a message, scoring the second goal and shrugging off a barrage of abuse over his upcoming racism trial.
Di Matteo said: "He's had many games where he's been challenged before and he showed again his leadership qualities."
Chelsea's fans also targeted QPR defender Anton Ferdinand - who Terry denies racially abusing - but they were full of praise for Di Matteo.
The Italian further strengthened his claim for the job in front of Roman Abramovich in the week Pep Guardiola - reportedly the Russian's number one target - announced he was quitting as Barca boss.
Di Matteo refused to comment when asked if he could be Chelsea's answer to Guardiola, but he did admit he had little say over the club's signing of Werder Bremen playmaker Marko Marin this week.
"I tend to give my recommendation but, ultimately, the club decides who they want to sign," he said.
"He's a very good player, technically very good, skilful. He will add some qualities to this team."
TOP FOUR RUN-IN
Arsenal - Pld 36 Pts 66 GD +24
May 5 - Norwich H
May 13 - West Brom A
Tottenham - Pld 35 Pts 62 GD +20
May 2 - Bolton A
May 6 - Aston Villa A
May 13 - Fulham H
Newcastle - Pld 35 Pts 62 GD +7
May 2 - Chelsea A
May 6 - Manchester City H
May 13 - Everton A
Chelsea - Pld 35 Pts 61 GD +23
May 2 - Newcastle H
May 8 - Liverpool A
May 13 - Blackburn H