Timo Werner hit the woodwork three times but still scored twice as Chelsea hammered sorry Southampton 6-0 at St Mary’s.
Germany forward Werner produced a perfect hat-trick of sorts by striking the left post, right post and crossbar – but shrugged off those misses with a morale-boosting brace.
Mason Mount helped himself to a double too, with Marcos Alonso and Kai Havertz also on target to hand Chelsea a much-needed winning tonic.
Chelsea’s fourth win in their last five Premier League matches inched the Blues ever closer to a third-place finish, with London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham starting to lag behind in the table.
Boss Thomas Tuchel revealed a sleepless Wednesday night binging on chocolate in re-watching Chelsea’s 3-1 Champions League quarter-final loss to Real Madrid.
Chelsea held summit talks on Thursday in a bid to hit back after leaking seven goals in two matches, given the Blues’ 4-1 home reverse to Brentford last Saturday.
Tuchel admitted he did most of the speaking in a tough-love talking-to for his players, and on this evidence that mix of meeting-room candour and late-night candy has paid immediate dividends.
Chelsea’s German coach insisted the Blues’ Champions League chances were all but over after that first-leg loss to Real.
The Blues will at least now head to the Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday night buoyed up by a victory as bullish as it was bullying on the south coast.
Tuchel told the BBC: "The performance changed, the commitment and the discipline. This is how we want to play and we gave an answer finally because you could see it on the scoreboard. It reflects the performance today which was very good.
"It is always a players' game but we try to prepare them as well as possible. We are always happy for players to manage the game and they did. You could see they were focused to play to the plan and we did it with concentration, commitment, hunger and of course with quality."
Southampton slumped to their fifth defeat in six matches in all competitions, with their last win the 3-1 FA Cup victory over West Ham on March 2.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said: "Congratulations to a very hot Chelsea team today. It was not the best moment to get them. They were super aggressive. We had a lack of everything. Such a team shows you your limits, especially when they are that aggressive.
"You always play as good as the opponent lets you play and they were very good counter-pressing and the quality with the speed. We could not close quick enough and were far away from competitive today. With the chances they had it could have been higher.
"We need to find a better way of defending in the next games. After this game the reaction is definitely that we have to turn up."
Saints’ third-heaviest loss under Hasenhuttl, after the much-documented 9-0 humiliations at the hands of Leicester and Manchester United, crystallised a wretched run of form.
Chelsea were so dominant so early in this clash as to be playing keep-ball with little more than half an hour on the clock.
Werner struck the left post on a quick break to open the afternoon, before inexplicably heading against the bar from point-blank range.
The pacy forward had the goal at his mercy after Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s fine cross took Fraser Forster out of the equation, but somehow managed to scoop the ball upwards and onto the crossbar.
Alonso’s drilled finish through traffic after Mount’s cross alleviated any Chelsea nerves however. Deadlock duly dismissed, the Blues ran Saints ragged.
Not content with teeing up the opener, Mount quickly fired home himself – requiring just one touch to steady himself and another to hit the corner of the goal from 20 yards.
Southampton’s day plumbed further depths when the usually ultra-reliable captain James Ward-Prowse unwittingly provided an assist for Werner.
Ward-Prowse’s back-header gifted Werner a clear run on goal and this time the Germany star kept his cool, rounded Forster and slotted home.
The Blues were not finished either, with Werner reverting to type to complete that unwanted treble by striking the right post – allowing Havertz to tap into the unguarded net.
Chelsea took that 4-0 lead into the break, whereupon Havertz was replaced by Christian Pulisic.
Werner tapped into an empty net to open the second half, profiting after N’Golo Kante’s cute chip was only parried by Forster.
Mount then quickly swept in after a six-yard box scramble to put the Blues 6-0 up comfortably inside the hour.
Chelsea coasted out the rest of the contest, providing the perfect riposte and offering perhaps just a glimmer of hope for next week’s trip to Madrid.