LONDON • Relations between Jose Mourinho and Chelsea's medical staff soured further on Tuesday after it emerged that the club's manager has decreed that Eva Carneiro, the team doctor, will not be allowed to attend training sessions, enter the team hotel nor take her place on the bench for games.
The Portuguese was furious with both Carneiro and Jon Fearn, the team's physiotherapist, for stepping onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard in stoppage time of English football club Chelsea's opening Premier League game with Swansea City on Saturday.
The Chelsea goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, had earlier been sent off and, with Hazard briefly out of commission, Mourinho was worried about being vulnerable, with only eight outfield players, to a Swansea break for a winning goal.
Mourinho gestured furiously on the touchline and he appeared to direct most of his anger towards Fearn, who joined in 2010.
WHO IS EVA CARNEIRO?
• Chelsea's 41-year-old Gibraltarian team doctor first joined the club in 2009, working with the reserves.
• She also worked with British athletes before the 2008 Beijing Olympics .
• She was promoted to first-team duties by Andre Villas-Boas and has been a regular presence on Chelsea's bench since 2011.
• She suffered sexist abuse from Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal fans last season, prompting the Football Association to urge fans to report all such incidents.
The flashpoint did not appear to have any great bearing on the result but Mourinho, who is obsessed by the finest of details, did not see it that way.
He gave vent to his feelings afterwards, when he suggested that his medical staff did not understand the game.
"I wasn't happy with them because even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game," said Mourinho.
"If you go to the pitch to assist a player, then you must be sure that a player has a serious problem."
It sounded, at the time, as though the manager was using a tactic to divert attention away from a disappointing result, but his frustration at the club's doctors has been building, despite the squad's injury record being generally excellent last season.
Mourinho said on several occasions over the summer that the medical staff had to improve, a sentiment that was motivated, perhaps, by his annoyance at the hamstring problems that have affected Diego Costa.
The striker finished last season with the injury and he has continued to feel it over the summer. The importance of a fully fit Costa to Chelsea's Premier League title defence is lost on nobody.
Mourinho followed up his comments with a radical revamp of the medical team's responsibilities.
Carneiro will continue to work with players at the club's base at Cobham but will no longer be present during training or at matches.
It is believed that Fearn - who was first to go on the pitch during the 2-2 draw with Swansea at Stamford Bridge and was rebuked by the manager in the dressing room after the game - has also been removed from front-line action.
It is not clear who will take their places on the bench for Sunday's meeting with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium - although Julian Redhead, the academy doctor, would seem the most logical alternative.
The club refused to comment on the issue, insisting that it was Chelsea's policy not to discuss internal staff matters in public.
Whether that leaves Carneiro, the highest-profile woman member of the back-room staff at any Premier League club, able to do her job remains open to question.
Although she has never spoken publicly since being promoted to first-team duties under Andre Villas-Boas in 2011 and the club have long refused requests to interview her, the 41-year-old took to Facebook on Monday to thank the "general public for their overwhelming support" in the aftermath of Mourinho's criticism.
She is a popular figure with Chelsea's players and extremely highly regarded by her counterparts across the league.
Paco Biosca, a Spaniard recruited from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2011, will continue to oversee the medical department as a whole. Carneiro's role was to deal with injuries suffered during play.
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN