The fallout from Jose Mourinho’s comments about team doctors in the wake of Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Swansea on Opening Day is (hopefully) playing out its final scenes on Friday in Cobham.
Our own Joe Prince-Wright was on the scene for Mourinho’s prematch press conference, in which the Portuguese manager discussed his controversial decision to ban Dr. Eva Carneiro and trainer Jon Fearn from the bench on match days. That begins with Chelsea’s big clash with Manchester City this weekend (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).
[ FRIDAY PREVIEW: Aston Villa vs. Manchester United ]
Both medical team members entered the field upon being summoned by the referee to attend to Eden Hazard, which meant the Belgian had to leave the field. With Chelsea having used all its subs and Thibaut Courtois been shown a red card, the Blues played part of the game with nine men much to the furor of Mourinho.
Prince-Wright will have full reaction later this morning, but here are the critical parts of Mourinho’s Friday statement, courtesy The Express. The Chelsea boss claims the decision to remove Carneiro and Fearn from the bench is simply a numbers game, and that he treats his staff very well.
“(Physio) Jon Fearn and Dr Carneiro will not be on the bench on Sunday but that doesn’t mean they cannot be in the future.
“If anyone thinks that a disagreement between two of the medical department and the manager can affect the build up to a match doesn’t know football.
“The bench is my responsibility, it is my decision, every week I face a decision. I have to choose. I have seven assistants but only four can go on the bench. We have four kit men and only one is on the bench. We have a big medical department and only two go on the bench.
“It is important to go on the bench, for some. For others it is about what they do.”
Well that seems a bit mealy, doesn’t it? Especially given reports that Mourinho seemed almost as peeved by Carneiro using Facebook to thank people for their support as he was for the incident. Looking forward to JPW’s full take from London.