Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is the master of blame (apart from when it comes to himself of course), and will use just about anything and everything to deflect attention away from the fact his side have not actually won a game in open play this season.
That may be the case, but even Mourinho probably doesn’t appreciate the storm surrounding the argument he had with his medical team, following Michael Oliver’s decision to call them onto the field against Swansea in the dying moments, to tend to Eden Hazard.
Now quite if Mourinho was right or wrong to get so irate about Jon Fearn and Eva Carneiro’s entrance onto the field of play, and his side being left with one less outfield player, as Hazard had to come off is one thing, but to call him sexist and essentially make it a Jose v Eva situation is another.
Mourinho was not being sexist when shouting at the medical staff. He did not just vent his fury at Carneiro. Full footage of the incident has emerged, and Jon Fearn comes in for just as much of a telling off – if not more, yet the way Sky Sports described the video on their Twitter account was: ‘New footage emerges of Jose Mourinho and Eva Carneiro’s touchline argument’.
Never mind the fact that the video is a minute long, and the last 30 seconds of it are literally the Blues boss screaming at Fearn. That seems to have been ignored, not just by Sky Sports, but by pretty much every news report and fan up and down the country and abroad.
People seem to be happy to neglect to mention the fact that everything that has happened to Carneiro, from the touchline berating to demotion from the bench, has happened to the male physio Fearn as well. Because why would they when Chelsea and Mourinho being sexist makes the headlines for them? Mourinho’s post-match comments about everyone needing to ‘understand football’ were not directed at one individual, male or female. They were directed at his medical team.
The Chelsea boss was, rightly some will say, fuming that his side, who were desperately trying to get a goal at that point and begin the defence of their title with a win, were put at an even greater disadvantage, and had lost their best attacking threat in Hazard. Eden Hazard, who was tired and wanted a drink. The winger was not injured, he knew it, Mourinho knew it, and he expected his medical staff to know it as well. And so they should.
It was not a head injury – which Mourinho takes very seriously and has spoken in the past extensively about how vital it is to get medical professionals onto the field as quickly as possible. It was not a broken leg. It wasn’t even cramp.
It was fatigue, because the Belgian international had run his socks off for 90 minutes, at the start of the season, when his side had ten men. He should have been allowed to get up and facilitate Chelsea’s attack. Instead, Carneiro and Fearn decided to run onto the field – claiming they were waved on by referee Oliver – who they could and should have ignored, used their supposed knowledge of football, and stayed on the sidelines. Mourinho was enraged, and rightly so.
After the game, he was asked why he was so angry on the touchline, and made no secret of his unhappiness with his medical staff. Note the key words here. ‘Medical staff’. Not ‘Eva Carneiro’, not ‘the female doctor’. He did not single her out as a person or a professional. He felt his team had not done their job properly and made that clear.
What should have been a storm in a teacup then became an unprecedented tidal wave. Mourinho was accused of being sexist and singling out Carneiro. It was Jose v Eva, the wronged woman who had been verbally abused by the nasty man.
That was one thing, and something that, given the blatantly sexist undertones in football, was probably expected, ironically with Mourinho being the victim of unsubstantiated media conjecture here, but for Carneiro to then break club protocol and social media rules and escalate the situation, cannot be seen as anything bar a grave error of judgement on her part.
The fact she took to her Facebook page to post a message thanking her ‘supporters’ was not only perceived as a rather passive aggressive dig at Mourinho, but managed to inflame the situation even further, the week before a vital clash for the club.
That led to her predecessor coming out and branding her a ‘celebrity doctor’, ‘naïve’ and someone who essentially, had now formed ideas above her station and was too big for her boots. Had that been a player or a coach, they too would have been in trouble. You do not break the circle of trust in the Mourinho camp. There are no two ways about it.
The comments from Ralph Rogers, the former doctor at the club, have been a rare show of support for Mourinho. The Chelsea manager has been lambasted by the majority of the media and fans, who like nothing better than to have a dig at the self proclaimed Special One, but one thing is obvious. That incident and that incident alone was not the driving force behind the demotion for the doctor.
Call it the straw that broke the camel’s back, but to say that was the sole reason she has now been persecuted and effectively placed on gardening leave by Mourinho is inaccurate at best, defamatory at worst.
There are now murmurings that Carneiro is so unhappy she will demand a public apology from Mourinho and is considering legal action against the club, should she feel constructive dismissal is in the works – but again, Mourinho is not a stupid man. You can call him many things, but never that.
There have long been whispers that all was not well behind the scenes between the Blues boss and the medical team, with Mourinho expressing his unhappiness at certain aspects of the medical team’s work last season, with the issues suffered by Diego Costa a particular bone of contention.
Those who have monitored Mourinho and his career closely will tell you this has been building for a while. He demands the best from his staff – be it playing or backroom, and the ‘us against the world’ mentality has been a prominent feature throughout his career. Carneiro broke that tenfold with her social media post, and that, more than anything else, seems to have convinced Mourinho they have reached the point of no return.
The doctor may feel the public are on her side at the minute, but she needs to remember one thing. With the greatest of respect, she is a doctor. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, she is obviously good at her job, but she is not irreplaceable. As Chelsea and Roman Abramovich found out when Mourinho left almost a decade ago for the first time, he is.
Mourinho went on to win the treble with Inter Milan and La Liga with Real Madrid, and while Chelsea had success under Ancelotti and won the Holy Grail in Munich, a managerial merry-go-round became the main feature of the club, and there was always the ghost of Mourinho haunting each manager.
The fans would sing for him, the press still enjoyed a love affair with him and the players mentioned him. It was, and always has been, Mourinho’s team since he rocked up back in 2004. There is one position that has become untenable at the club. Hers. Mourinho’s outburst will not be without consequence for the manager. He will incur the wrath of the media and Abramovich – not that he hasn’t weathered that before and come out stronger.
The fact is that Carneiro’s position has effectively become impossible for her to keep, and while Jon Fearn has also been demoted and seriously reprimanded, he kept his head down, stayed off social media and could come back from this. Mourinho is a winner, plain and simple.
He likes to work with a small squad, and hates to rotate. He knows how important the medical department are to him and his success, and throughout his career, has always been praised as someone who values the contribution of every single person, from the tea lady to his captain. Mourinho wants the best, and doesn’t seem to think Fearn or Carneiro are that. Mourinho is not a racist. He is not sexist. He is a winner.
Chelsea’s doctor could be a purple lion for all he cares, as long as they abide by the Mourinho code and help the collective unit – because that’s what he relies on so heavily to win. Carneiro has not done that, and is now going out of her way to destabilise it. That, and that alone is why she is now facing a bleak future at the club. Not because she is a female. Not because Mourinho and the players don’t want a female in the dressing room. To make that claim that is outrageous and disrespectful to all involved.
The whole unsavoury incident between Mourinho and the medics has been a terrible reflection on Chelsea FC, there is no denying that, but when it comes to sexism, make no mistake, there has been plenty. Only it has been directed towards Mourinho and not Carneiro.