Jose Mourinho knew he was going to get bombarded with questions about the current contretemps with his on-pitch medical staff -- both Jon Fearn and Dr. Eva Carneiro have apparently been removed from bench duty after being criticised during the Swansea draw -- at today's press-conference, so he pre-empted them all with a statement. Here's the transcript from the official Chelsea FC webstie:
"First of all I want to say I have a fantastic medical department with a top leader, Dr Paco Biosca and with more than a dozen professionals between doctors, physios, masseurs and specialists in different areas. I have a very good relationship with them."
"As they tell me all the time they were never praised so much as they were by me in the last couple of years. Normally when things go well managers keep it for themselves, and when they have problems with injuries is when they speak about the medical department.
"As they also told me yesterday, we had disagreements during this period, we need disagreements to improve, we work together and we improve together. That’s the way we do things. I want to make this very, very clear.
"For some people the bench is very important, and I understand for you it’s also very important, but for other people it’s not important. For other people the most important thing is not what people think you do, it’s what you do."
"The bench is my responsibility, yes. It’s my decision, nobody else’s decision. Every week I face a decision about the bench. With 25 players, we have 11 on the pitch, seven on the bench, so seven are not even on the bench. I have to choose. I have seven assistants, only four can go on the bench. I have to choose three of them. We have four kitmen, only one goes on the bench, three stay out."
"With the medical department, only two go on the bench, and we are more than a dozen. It’s important to be on the bench for some, but for others it’s more important what their contribution is behind the scenes, and what they do for the good of the team. "
"Jon Fearn and Dr Carneiro will not be on the bench, but it doesn’t mean Sunday is the rest of our season or the rest of our careers. They will not be on the bench on Sunday, that’s clear, that’s my decision, that’s my responsibility, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be in the future."
Frankly Chelsea have been getting demolished in the ongoing PR war, so it's nice to have something reasonable (although I imagine it's been vetted by about half a dozen people) coming from this press conference. Yes, the fact that the Blues have a famous female doctor on staff is what's led to this turning into a big storm, but the fact that otherwise nobody would care is not really an excuse to sit there like a pinata for the press.
We don't really know what's going on with Dr. Carneiro or Fearn at the moment, and the former especially is being used as the focal point for something else entirely. It's difficult to imagine that the club has deflected much or any wrath with this statement, but at least it'll reassure some.