The new Premier League campaign is barely a week old and already Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has launched his first conspiracy theory of the season, and it’s not referees or the English FA that the Portuguese gaffer is pointing a finger at. This time, it’s the club’s doctor.
In the wake of Chelsea’s surprising 2-2 draw with Swansea City on opening day, Mourinho has rounded on Chelsea’s first team doctor, Eva Carneiro. The Special One’s ire stems from a stoppage time incident in which the referee waved Carneiro and team physio Jon Fearn onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard. According to Mourinho, the two should have been able to somehow ascertain from the sidelines that Hazard was in no real need of attention, despite the referee waving them on. Chelsea, already reduced to 10 men following the sending off of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, were temporarily reduced to nine as Hazard was taken to the sidelines, as regulations dictate.
It seems a bizarre thing for the manager to focus on. A doctor and a physio, simply doing what the medical staff for any other team in the Premier League would have done had a player been down and the ref waved them over.
Whether it was his motive or not, Mourinho’s criticism of Carneiro and today’s shocking revelation that she would be banished from her role on the bench has served to distract from a lackluster performance by the Premier League champions. The fact that the manager could fly into such a flap over Hazard being temporarily led to the sidelines speaks to ongoing problems the Blues have in the goalscoring department. Despite assurances to the contrary, Diego Costa did not seem fully fit Saturday and the options behind him, Loic Remy and a dissipated Falcao, are not altogether convincing. While Chelsea did manage a point against Swansea, they were the benefactors of an own goal from Swans defender, Federico Fernandez, and had to again rely on their midfield to do what the forwards could not, with Oscar scoring the Blues' first goal of the season.
Perhaps Mourinho’s criticism would be more appropriately aimed at Courtois, whose reckless, naïve challenge resulted in an appropriate sending off, leaving his team a man down and without their starting keeper for the heavyweight clash with Manchester City this weekend.
But to publicly criticize and then demote a doctor for doing her job seems beyond the pale even for Mourinho, a manager whose history of shocking behavior is well documented. Unless there is something more than meets the eye going on behind the scenes here, it seems Mourinho has truly lost the plot this time.
As Chelsea manager, he should set about doing his job, which is to make the team play well and win games. And he should let the medical staff to theirs, which is to administer treatment to injured players.