Optimism was high at Stamford Bridge following the return of the self-styled 'Special One' in June, even if Mourinho himself had always insisted this would be a transitional campaign.
That has proved an accurate assessment, with a third-placed finish achieved along with a run to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Mourinho's men did send their fans into the close-season on a high, with late strikes from Andre Schurrle and Fernando Torres earning the points after Craig Bellamy's deflected effort had given Cardiff a first-half lead.
By contrast, Cardiff's supporters are left to ponder another campaign of Championship football after their first season in the top-flight following a 51-year absence ended in relegation.
That was sealed long before the season's last act, although defeat meant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were unable to avoid the ignominy of finishing at the foot of the table.
A balloon-laden pitch - Cardiff fans littered the playing area with blue in the hope owner Vincent Tan will revert to the club's original colours - could not halt early Chelsea pressure, Oscar firing a warning shot when curling just over.
Their early verve did not yield too many more openings, though, and Cardiff took advantage in the 15th minute.
Bellamy picked up the ball, moved to the edge of the area and unleashed an ambitious pot-shot that deflected off Cesar Azpilicueta to wrong-foot Mark Schwarzer.
The visitors responded impressively, with Oscar seeing a deflected effort go just wide before Mohamed Salah missed the target from a tight angle.
Clear-cut chances continued to elude Chelsea and their opponents almost capitalised once more, Fraizer Campbell wriggling into the box and firing over.
Determined to get back into it, Mourinho's side pressed further forward after the break with Torres curling wide from just outside the area.
Yet, as was the case in the opening period, possession did not initially lead to goals - although the visitors came agonisingly close when Eden Hazard stuck the side-netting.
Chelsea did finally draw level in the 73rd minute. After Azpilicueta - having somehow found himself in the area - had forced a fine reaction save from David Marshall and hit the crossbar with the follow-up, Schurrle showed fine poise to power a volley into the net.
As is often the case, one goal immediately brought a second as Torres, who was just onside, chested down Branislav Ivanovic's header into the area and finished coolly.
Schurrle almost added further gloss when his effort was tipped over by Marshall, yet it mattered little as Chelsea signed off with a win.
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