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Mourinho's purge puts job of highest profile woman doctor in Premier League in doubt

Eva Carneiro talks to Jose Mourinho after treating Eden Hazard
Eva Carneiro talks to Jose Mourinho after treating Eden Hazard
Eva Carneiro attends to Gary Cahill during Chelsea's match against Barcelona in July

Matt Law

Eva Carneiro, the highest-profile woman doctor in the Premier League, could be on her way out of Chelsea after Jose Mourinho radically downgraded her duties.

The doctor has been removed from the bench for matches, just three days after Mourinho's trenchant criticism of her and head physiotherapist Jon Fearn.

Carneiro, 41, of Spanish and British parentage, will continue to be the first-team doctor, but now will work only from her office at the club's Cobham training base.

She will not travel with the team to games, home or away, nor will she attend training sessions on the first-team pitch at Cobham.

Jose Mourinho publicly criticised his club's physio Eva Carneiro
Jose Mourinho publicly criticised his club's physio Eva Carneiro

Chelsea refused to comment on her specific situation yesterday. A spokesman for the club said: "We don't comment on internal staffing matters."

Whether Carneiro continues in her new, more limited role is debatable, especially given the high regard in which she is held in her profession and the very public nature of her demotion.

Mourinho suggested that Carneiro and Fearn did not "understand the game" after they attempted to treat Eden Hazard in stoppage time of Chelsea's draw against Swansea.

In a rare Facebook post, Carneiro responded by writing: "I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated." Fearn kept his thoughts private.

Despite his team's excellent injury record last season, Mourinho claimed several times this summer that Chelsea's medical department must improve.

This is not the first time Mourinho has clashed with a Chelsea doctor. In 2005, Neil Frazer left the club after a dispute regarding the fitness of Arjen Robben.

Carneiro is highly respected for her work by Chelsea players, who were shocked to find out her working regime would change.

There is also a feeling that she did little wrong on Saturday, with Hazard reacting as if he was badly injured.

Eva Carneiro's role at Chelsea is understood to be changing
Eva Carneiro's role at Chelsea is understood to be changing

Following the opening-day draw against Swansea, Mourinho said: "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.

"If you go 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 outfield players in a counter-attack after a set-piece and we were worried we didn't have enough players left."

Carneiro is not the only member of Mourinho's staff to have their working arrangements changed.

Over the summer, the chelsea manager made a number of adjustments to the ways in which members of his support staff work and there will be more to follow. The Portuguese has questioned the work of goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon.

Carneiro was promoted to her role with the first team by Andre Villas-Boas in 2011 and has been an ever-present through the reigns of Rafael Benitez and Mourinho.

One of few women to be part of a Premier League first-team set-up, she was subjected to sexist abuse from Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal fans earlier this year.

Chelsea threw their full support behind Carneiro by releasing a statement that read: "The issue of equality is one we take extremely seriously and we abhor discrimination in all its forms, including sexism. Such behaviour is unacceptable and we want it eradicated from the game."

In a speech made to a conference held by the Swedish football federation last year, Carneiro said: "In every (medical) television programme I have ever watched in my life, the female doctor is hyper-sexualised. She goes off with Tom Cruise and it is all happy endings. Or she is not present. Or she is a lesbian.

"This is the perception young girls grow up with of what a female doctor is. This needs to change. There need to be ass-kicking women who are not behaving like men, who do a really good job and save the day. That is not going off with Tom Cruise! I think women are discouraged from a young age."

Other than potentially missing Carneiro and Fearn at City, Chelsea will also be without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after an appeal against his red card in the Swansea game was rejected.

A Football Association statement read: "A claim of wrongful dismissal submitted by Chelsea in relation to Thibaut Courtois has been unsuccessful following an Independent Regulatory Commission. The goalkeeper was dismissed for denying a goalscoring opportunity in the 52nd minute of Chelsea's game against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

"Therefore, the player's one-match suspension, which is the standard penalty for this offence, remains with immediate effect.

"For a club to be successful with a claim of wrongful dismissal, it must prove to an Independent Regulatory Commission via written and/or video evidence that the match referee made an obvious error." © Daily Telegraph, London

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