One point from his first game in charge was not what Guus Hiddink would have wanted, but Watford proved more than a match for the champions at Stamford Bridge as the sides battled out a festive 2-2 draw.
A goal from Diego Costa sent the previously disgruntled Chelsea faithful singing from the rafters, but strikes from Troy Deeney, from the penalty spot and an early second half strike from Odion Ighalo saw Watford take the lead.
But a second goal from Costa restored parity and three points would have been in the bag but for a fluffed penalty from Oscar, who skied his spot kick into the higher regions of theMatthew Harding Stand.
"When we are near the end of the game and get a penalty, we deserved the 3-2," said a sanguine Hiddink afterwards.
"It's a pity and a setback. But we're have to analyse the game and Watford deserves respect, they have a lot of clean sheets.
"But the two goals we conceded were unlucky - a penalty and a deflection.
"I'm disappointed but it was important how we reacted when it was 1-2. That was good, in regard to the recent past."
Diego Costa scored twice but also got himself booked - his fifth of the season and so will miss Monday's trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.
"Don't over estimate the influence of managers', joked Hiddink when asked how he had managed to get Costa focused on playing football rather than fighting the opposition.
"He focused himself on the pitch where he is good at. He is very dangerous and did not waste energy," said the 69-year-old interim manager.
"But he is out which means we have to think how we can solve that problem. He is going into a sequence of good performances. It is a pity. But I now have 48 hours to solve the problem of his absence."
Asked what he di to get Costa to play, Hiddink said: "He tried to focus. We mentioned it in training sessions and in team meetings. Everyone knows what he is capable of.
"When he was substituted by Steve Holland last week, he reacted well. He could have acted negatively but he didn't - he was professional.
"That made him think 'how shall I go on' he scored twice today."
So what did the new boss make of the performance?
"I noticed the intensity of the game and liked the balance. We are very attack-orientated so we need that balance.
"That was why I took off (Cesc) Fabregas (aypt half-time). When we have players who are all creative, it's beautiful. But we needed the balance that is why we brought on Mikel.
"Sometimes we have to choose a different way."
There was less vocal dissent from the Chelsea fans who still mourn the loss of Jose Mourinho.
Hiddink expressed his support for the fans.
"I was focused on the team," he said. "And last week ( against Sunderland) the fans truly had the right to express themselves. It's now up to the team to show, and take the initiative to get the crowd back. And they did, especially when we went behind. The team reacted and showed the crowd what they are willing to do, and showed ambition, and the crowd reacted positively to them."