José Mourinho has truly gone and stuck his foot in it this time. His very public condemnation of Chelsea first-team doctor Eva Carneiro and Chelsea physio Jon Fearn has rightly drawn criticism from various media outlets. On this occasion, by banning Carneiro and Fearn from the touchline for future matches, the Portuguese has overstepped the mark.
On the opening day of the new Premier League season, Chelsea were level with Swansea as the match entered its final stages. Chelsea star Eden Hazard fell to the ground with an injury and the television cameras show referee, Mike Oliver, asking Hazard if he required treatment. Hazard appeared to request treatment and Oliver then called the medics onto the pitch; the medics obliged and ran onto the pitch to treat Hazard.
At this point, Mourinho launched himself into an uncontrollable rage, the sort of uncontrollable rage that you would expect from a four year old who has just had his favourite action figure taken from him.
By the laws of the game, the Chelsea medical staff did exactly what they were expected to; they ran onto the pitch to treat a player who had told the referee that he was injured. Textbook stuff. Mourinho, on the other hand, decided to throw away the textbook along with his toys out the pram.
When asked to explain his reaction, Mourinho claimed that his medical staff were “naïve” to run onto to the pitch to treat an injured player and temporarily leave Chelsea with nine men on the field of play. It is baffling that Mourinho deemed his medical staff to be the cause of the issue. It was Hazard who left Chelsea with nine men by requesting treatment, even though his injury was only very minor.
Some have put forward the case that Mourinho launched this public criticism of his medical staff to distract the press from his side’s mediocre display against Swansea. This may well be a valid point, although, if this is one of Mourinho’s mind games, designed to distract us from his side’s poor performance, it has failed. Firstly, the performance has been analysed in the routine fashion, on shows such as Match of the Day and Monday Night Football and secondly, this story has only served to focus the media’s attention on the Swansea match.
Outbursts or outlandish behaviour are not uncommonly associated with Mourinho. His over-the-top goal celebration with his son in the stands two years ago, or his confrontation with a ball boy at Crystal Palace last year, were also seen as peculiar incidents that took place on the touch line. The difference with last weekend is that on this occasion, Mourinho has damaged his reputation.
The two previous examples had few consequences, at the time they seemed like ridiculous reactions, but at their core they were harmless. On this occasion though, Mourinho’s reaction has been harmful. He has unfairly disciplined two members of staff, effectively disciplining them for doing their jobs. The student equivalent is being asked to leave a lecture because you were taking notes. In this case, Mourinho’s actions both on and off the field have been thoroughly unprofessional and his reputation will suffer as a result.