As much as every Chelsea fan admires Jose Mourinho for the success he masterminds, he is also one of the primary reasons why the club is so disliked beyond the Fulham Road. People laugh when he directs his ire at the opposition or when he plays his mind games, but when opposition managers display similar traits, they hate it. The latest incident, involving the demotion of popular club doctor, Eva Carneiro, is never going to look like anything other than a tiger pissing on his territory.
The way she has been treated, indeed publically humiliated, flies in the face of modern working practices and management techniques. In most walks of life, such behavior would result in some form of disciplinary action taken against Mourinho, not the unfortunate Carneiro. And all this at a club that claims it doesn’t comment on internal issues.
As a professional, Carneiro is obliged to act promptly to ensure her “patient” is safe and cared for. Her instinct was to dash to tend to Eden Hazard. Mourinho’s reaction was astonishing and doubtless would have been different had Chelsea been romping home against Swansea.
You can see where he’s coming from, though. Chelsea were down to 10 men, Hazard had to go off, reducing the number to nine. Mourinho probably assumed that Carneiro was not using enough “savvy” when she rushed to the scene of the accident. There are suggestions that Hazard had called for the medical team but was in fact feigning injury. Mourinho may have realised that.
So shame on Carneiro for not recognising a player was play-acting but following her professional ethics! If we are not careful, football injuries could all start to become a little like an Aesop fable. What would happen if a doctor didn’t react quick enough to a bad injury and, as a result, something really nasty developed. That doctor would be lambasted beyond belief. When did a doctor ever get criticised for acting too quickly?
Mourinho said he expects everyone around him to understand football and in doing so, he’s suggesting that Carneiro doesn’t. He didn’t select her as his team doctor, that was done by his protégé AVB, and there have always been rumours that Mourinho doesn’t work well with people he hasn’t hand-picked himself.
Chelsea have portrayed themselves as a club that is embracing ladies football and this reflects well on them. The fact they had a woman on the bench was also a huge positive. The all-inclusive club. Although nobody is suggesting that sexism is involved here, there will be those that will point the finger and ask if the bench expulsion would have happened if Chelsea’s doctor was a man. He’s a great coach, a charismatic figure, but Mourinho has scored a huge own goal here.
What’s also worrying is that Mourinho is sending a signal that he has a “zero-tolerance” approach for mistakes (as if we needed reminding), if indeed an error of judgement has been made. A public apology may be all that is needed.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that…