Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho defends his call to ban medics from bench

By Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho has banished first-team doctor Eva Carneiro and physio Jon Fearn from his Chelsea bench but promised they could return in the future.

The Chelsea manager does not expect his decision to have any adverse impact on tomorrow's Barclays Premier League match at Manchester City.

Even by the outspoken Portuguese's standards, these have been a whirlwind few days at Stamford Bridge following an incident towards the end of last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Swansea.

Mourinho was infuriated to see Carneiro and Fearn run onto the field to tend to Eden Hazard, telling the media after the season opener that their "impulsive and naive" decision showed they did not "understand the game".

It emerged by midweek that the pair's roles were being changed, leading to condemnation from a variety of medical organisations and football personalities.

"Jon Fearn and Dr Carneiro, they will not be on the bench, but that doesn't mean Sunday is the rest of our season or our careers," Mourinho said yesterday.

"They won't be on the bench on Sunday. It is my decision, my responsibility, but that doesn't mean they cannot be in the future."

Mourinho was speaking to a packed media room at Chelsea's Cobham training ground, where 19 camera crews were among those in attendance at the weekly preview press conference.

The first question related to this week's high-profile issues with the medical staff. Mourinho's response, including the confirmation of Fearn and Carneiro's absence from his bench staff, lasted just shy of five minutes.

"First of all, I want to say I have a fantastic medical department with a top leader, Dr Paco Biosca, with more than a dozen professionals between doctors, physios, masseurs and specialists of different areas," he said.

"I have a very good relation with them and, as they tell me all the time, they were never praised so much as they were with me in the last couple of years.

"Normally, when things go well managers keep to themselves, and when they have problems with injuries and related to medical department, it is when they speak to the medical department.

"I praised them lots of times in the last couple of years. They don't forget that, I don't forget that.

"And, as they also told me yesterday, we had disagreements during the period - we need disagreements to improve.

"We work together, we improve together and that's the way we do things and this I want to make very, very, very clear.

"Your question about the bench, I have to say for some people the bench is very important and I understand that for you it is also important.

"But for other people it is not important. For other people, the most important thing is not what people think you do, it is what you do. The bench is my responsibility, yes. When you ask me, obviously, it is my decision."

Mourinho, reluctant to spend the whole press conference speaking about the issue, explained the constant decisions he faces about who to include on the bench.

"It is important to be on the bench for some," Mourinho said. "For others, it is more important what they do, the contribution they do, what they do behind the scenes and what they do for the good of the team."

Chelsea are keen not to reveal who will instead be on the bench as they want to avoid unwanted additional attention in the build-up. However, there will be little prospect of escape from an issue Mourinho has not felt the need to speak to his squad about.

"If somebody thinks that a disagreement between two members of the medical staff and the manager can affect the week, it is somebody that doesn't have a clue about what football is and about preparation for matches," Mourinho said.

Belfast Telegraph


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