How long would Mourinho and Chelsea's second honeymoon last if the manager could not restore the heights of his first reign? Abramovich will want the right kind of headlines...
After a disappointing end to his three years at Real Madrid, could Jose Mourinho struggle to bring immediate success if he completes his anticipated return to Chelsea?
There's little doubt that the referee's decision on Tuesday night helped turn the tide in Real Madrid's favour - but so too did Sir Alex Ferguson's reaction.
For 56 minutes, Manchester United's manager appeared to have called it right. His side led 2-1 on aggregate and appeared to be comfortably holding off the Spaniards. The decision to deploy Danny Welbeck as Xabi Alonso's shadow was yielding results, as the former Liverpool man struggled to impose himself on the game. With their pivotal playmaker shackled, Real Madrid stuttered through that first 56 minutes. United were compact and seemingly comfortable.
However, once referee Cuneyt Cukir brandished that controversial red card, the game's shape changed utterly, but there is a sense that Sir Alex could have managed the situation more effectively.
Harsh as the decision was, all was not lost. United still had the lead and only had to hold out for 30 more minutes - difficult, but not impossible. But while Mourinho seized the opportunity afforded him by throwing on Luka Modric, Ferguson, perhaps consumed by rage at the injustice, failed to make the kinds of adjustments required to hold out.
Nani, not the world's most diligent defender, could have been replaced with Luis Antonio Valencia or Ashley Young, for instance, with either of the front two of Welbeck or Robin van Persie being sacrificed - allowing United to more or less retain the shape that had allowed them hold the Spaniards at bay. Instead, United effectively played on with just a midfield three and an increasingly confused Welbeck, unsure of whether to continue tracking Alonso or not, dropping in to try and help out.
By then however, Modric's appearance meant that Alonso was no longer the key problem - as the little Croat took control of the midfield spaces afforded him by United's increasingly misshapen disarray.
Crucially, both Welbeck and Van Persie were still on the pitch when Modric and Ronaldo struck. Given United were dropping deeper and deeper under the Madrid onslaught in the run-up to the goals, you have to question Ferguson's thought processes here.
Perhaps the outcome would still have been the same. But Ferguson's inaction and fury at the referee's decision seemed to flow through the team as both manager and team lost their composure.
Ultimately, Mourinho was decisive in the wake of the referee's decision, while Sir Alex seemed to allow the red mists to cloud his judgement.
Paul Little - follow him on Twitter
Shouldn't Old Trafford be renamed 'The Theatre of Screams'? The only thing Sir Alex didn't do was storm off with the ball under his arm, saying, sorry, screaming, "It's my ball and you're not playing!"- eddie442