The tale of Jose Mourinho would be a good idea for a novel; the man who went from working as an interpreter and a coach to being an all-conquering manager who leaves a trail of success wherever he goes, only to be haunted with the paranoia and insecurities that grow with every trophy won.
The man who simply could not enjoy his yield because he is anguished by the smallest details that aren’t to his liking.
Incident with Carneiro
The latest odd and unnecessary incident to exasperate Mourinho is the decision of his first-team doctor, Eva Carneiro, to tend to Eden Hazard as he laid on the pitch seemingly injured after being fouled by Ashley Williams in the dying embers of the opening day 2-2 draw with Swansea.
Carneiro’s intervention meant Hazard had to leave the pitch, earning Mourinho’s chagrin because it left his team two players short, with Thibaut Courtois already dismissed, and apparently prone to Swansea’s counter-attack as his side prepared a set-piece.
Master of the diversionary tactic
Mourinho is the master of the diversionary tactic in the event of a disappointing result but it quickly became clear this was no such thing. Carneiro has now been demoted, or at least believed to be taking on a role that revolves more around the training pitch and not involving match-days or training sessions.
This is far from the first time Mourinho has raised eyebrows and for somebody seemingly so comfortable in his skin, as much a guarantor of silverware as any other coach, it is bizarre. His charge sheet includes a rebellion against Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid, the running obsession with Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez, and the claims that referees were running a “campaign” against his Chelsea side last season.
“Pathetic and insecure” was the opinion of Massimiliano Allegri, now in charge of Juventus, when he managed Milan in 2011. “I think he is very talented but his arrogance hides insecurity” said Allegri, an assessment that continues to resonate.
Trivial alienation of a respected physio
Now it is the alienation of Carneiro for something so trivial and innocuous, discarding the four years’ of service the Gibraltar-born doctor and her significant role in the Premier League and League Cup double of last term in a ruthless act of reorganisation.
The work of Carneiro and her colleagues in keeping a small core of players consistently fit as they charged to the title meant little to a vexed Mourinho.
“Even if you are a kit man, doctor or secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game” he said.
Expect Carneiro to now be in demand from a host of other clubs as even if she doesn’t “understand the game”, a preposterous claim given her eight years spent in the sport and the story of how she fell in love with the game watching the 1998 World Cup in Mexico, she understands sport medicine and her work at Chelsea under Mourinho can’t be understated.
The ageing bones of John Terry managed every Premier League game of last season and so did Hazard, who concluded the campaign as the league’s most fouled player.
The league was won using just 21 players and nine of them finished the campaign having made 25 appearances, Mourinho being permitted to keep faith with his regulars throughout and able to avoid altering the spine of his side.
That was one of the underlying factors behind Mourinho’s third title defence and one that now he could face losing if Carneiro is lured away.
A Costly Error
Having built a healthy respect from Chelsea’s players and now highly-thought of inside Stamford Bridge, Mourinho may discover he has made a costly error by proportioning blame so harshly on his doctor.
Of course, his past record more than suggests that the Portuguese knows what he is doing and the downfall of Carneiro is the perfect way of deflecting attention away from his players as they prepare for the tough assignment at Manchester City on the second weekend of the season.
Gone are the questions of Courtois’ absence, the lacklustre displays of Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas and the fitness troubles of Diego Costa, swept under a convenient blanket that concerns the future of a team doctor.
No one knows what’s behind Mou’s rationale
With little official coming out of the club or Mourinho, just Carneiro’s message of thanks to Chelsea’s fans for their support, the methods behind the manager’s thinking remain to be discovered, whether his doctor is merely being sacrificed to keep media scrutiny away from his team or whether he does truly believe she is expendable.
If it is the latter, then Chelsea may rue their manager’s angst again manifesting itself over the most inconsequential of episodes.
Written by Adam Gray
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamGray1250
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