Jose Mourinho is a great coach and his records and trophies prove that, but his biggest attraction is his use of mind games and off-hand speaking. These are the hallmarks of Jose and that’s why I enjoy watching his interviews and press conferences.
When he arrived in 2004, he said: "Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.” And on Arsene Wenger: "I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea."
Another classic take on Messi following Chelsea’s loss to Barcelona and the sending off of Asier Del Horno in February 2006: “Barcelona is a cultural city with many great theatres and this boy [Lionel Messi] has learned very well. He’s learned play-acting.”
However, last weekend, his on screen expression of anger and frustration towards the end of Chelsea’s home 2-2 draw with Swansea over the conduct of Chelsea’s first team doctor, Eva Carneiro is wrong and he seems to have bitten off more than he can chew with his meltdown on international TV.
His outrage over the simple fact of her running onto the pitch alongside the first team physio to attend to an injured Eden Hazard, could be forgiven for all the tension of trying to salvage a result with 10 men. But he actually went on to insist at the post-match interview: “I wasn't happy with my medical staff because even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench you have to understand the game.
“You have to know that when you have one player less and, in the end, you go on to the pitch to assist a player then you must be sure that a player has a serious problem,” Mourinho raged.
Now, that got me thinking. Well maybe it’s nice that you have a doctor who understands the game or even can read the mind of the coach, but really!
What every football team needs is a competent doctor, one who can arrive on the side of the player immediately when there’s an injury and can determine whether it is serious or not.
I have followed all the reactions to the incident and I find it all unnecessary and rather unfortunate to say the least.
Injuries during the game involve both the referee and the medical staff and they have to make a call based on what they perceive, not the coach. In this instance, the referee called for medical attention and the doctors responded.
It didn’t matter that Chelsea was down to 10 men.
What is the job of the team doctor and physio? What if Eden Hazard was concussed? How many of these incidents can we reference?
Peter Cech for Chelsea against Reading when he had a huge head injury, Hugo Lloris of Tottenham, Bafatehembi Gomis for Swansea or Fabrice Muamba for Bolton.
Let’s start with Cech and look back at Mourinho’s reaction to that famous incident:
“Petr Cech was dying on the pitch, clearly,” said Mourinho. “We all know at that moment that he was dying. So there is no space for doubt, no space for question marks, no space for communication or lack of communication between player, doc, and manager. There was no space.”
It takes a competent doctor to know that Fabrice Muamba needed to get to hospital and even more, it took a competent doctor to actually save him because he was almost dead and was lucky that an off-duty doctor happened to be watching from the stands that day.
Bolton team doctor Jonathan Tobin reacted the exact same way Dr Carneiro did when he got to Muamba, and this is how he explains the moment he was running onto the pitch: "I can't begin to explain the pressure that was there," he said. "This isn't somebody that's gone down in the street or been brought into accident and emergency.
"This is somebody that I know, I know his family. This is somebody I consider a friend. This is somebody I joke with on a daily basis. As I was running onto the pitch I was thinking 'Oh my God, it's Fabrice'."
Yet, Mourinho will repeat his self-advised excuse.
“I wasn't happy with my medical staff because even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench you have to understand the game.
“You have to know that when you have one player less and, in the end, you go on to the pitch to assist a player then you must be sure that a player has a serious problem.
“I was sure that Eden didn't have a serious problem. He had a knock and was very tired.
“My medical department left me with eight fit players in a counter-attack after a set-piece and we were worried we didn't have enough players.”
It’s a huge question mark on his famed reputation for diverting attention from his teams.
No one agrees with him for once as shown by the following:
Eamonn Salmon, Football Medical Association CEO: “The FMA fully supports the actions of our members and colleagues in this incident who acted with integrity and professionalism at all times. Factors extraneous to the immediate medical needs of the patient (such as the stage and state of the game) cannot be part of their consideration at such time.”
The Premier League Doctors Group also weighed in with this statement from its chairman, Dr Mark Gillett of West Bromwich Albion: “The Premier League Doctors' Group considers that removing Dr Eva Carneiro from the Chelsea team bench for their next match is unjust in the extreme.
“In the publicised incident in last Saturday's game against Swansea, the Chelsea medical staff were clearly summoned on to the field of play by the match referee to attend to a player. A refusal to run onto the pitch would have breached the duty of care required of the medical team to their patient.
“Dr Carneiro has universal and total support from her medical colleagues at the Premier League Doctors Group.
“It is also of great concern that at a time when the both the Premier League and the Premier League Doctors Group are intensifying efforts to safeguard player welfare, the precedent set by this incident demonstrates that the medical care of players appears to be secondary to the result of the game.”
The Australia cricket team doctor, Peter Brukner said: “I thought it was appalling behaviour by the manager.
“What do you expect the doctor to do? Just ignore the referee beckoning them on?
“The medical staff deserve a public apology.”
I commend the sports medicine fraternity for their response and hope that Mourinho will be man enough to apologise. Chelsea also needs to re-instate Dr Caneiro to her match day duties.
She represents a shift and competent proof that a team doctor’s role is not the exclusive preserve of men.
If he still insists that his doctor must understand football, then perhaps he needs to consider me for the role, or Gary Lineker who tweeted: