CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho undoubtedly savours his role as the Premier League’s most controversial figure, but in his spat with the first team medic he may have bitten off more than he can chew.
Mourinho told Dr Eva Carneiro that she would no longer be the match-day doctor, following his criticism of her decision to go onto the pitch to treat forward Eden Hazard in the last gasps of Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Swansea on Saturday.
Speaking post-match, Mourinho said: “I was unhappy with my medical staff. They were impulsive and naive.” He went on to say the actions of Carneiro and the team’s head physiotherapist Jon Fearn, who also attended to Hazard, resulted from a lack of understanding of the game.
Now several leading sports medics have rallied round Gibraltarian Carneiro and Fearn, including the Premier League Doctors’ Group chairman, Dr Mark Gillett. He said that as the referee had clearly called for medical attention for the player, if Chelsea’s physicians had ignored that call it would have been a dereliction of their duty to a patient. Gillett said Carneiro’s touchline ban was “unjust in the extreme.”
Carneiro is the first woman to hold the position of principal team doctor in the English Premier League, something that colleague Sammy Morgan, English football’s first female physiotherapist, believes has influenced Mourinho’s reaction.
“Being a woman in football draws a little bit more attention than it would ordinarily,” she told BBC radio’s Today programme.
Head of the Football Medical Association, Eamonn Salmon, said the organisation backed the decision of Carneiro and Fearn, “who acted with integrity and professionalism at all times, fully cognisant of the rules of the game and in full accordance with that duty of care to their patient.”
Chelsea have refused to comment, saying it was an internal matter.