LONDON: Premier League champions Chelsea travel to Manchester City, last season’s runners-up, on Sunday (Monday in Manila) with manager Jose Mourinho embroiled in a growing row over accusations he has sidelined team doctor Eva Carneiro.
British media reports claim Carneiro will no longer attend matches or training sessions after Mourinho reacted furiously to the sight of her and physiotherapist Jon Fearn running on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard during the latter stages of last weekend’s opening 2-2 draw at home to Swansea City, which temporarily reduced Chelsea to nine players.
The outspoken Mourinho, who said that Carneiro and Fearn had been “impulsive and naïve,” has received widespread criticism, with Liverpool’s former head of sports medicine Peter Brukner branding his behavior “absolutely appalling.”
Mourinho was due to give his first public response to the reports of Carneiro’s demotion at his scheduled pre-match press conference on Friday.
However, for all that he enjoys confronting the media, Chelsea and Mourinho have sometimes cancelled his press conference appearances in a bid to limit the damage caused by uncomfortable topics.
Indeed it was prior to a match with City last season that Mourinho backed out of a press conference in anger at what he believed was an attempt by the Football Association to make Blues striker Diego Costa a scapegoat for his stamp on Liverpool defender Emre Can.
Chelsea will be without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, sent off against Swansea, but have a more than capable deputy in former Stoke City number one Asmir Begovic.
Both last season’s league meetings between Chelsea and their title rivals ended in 1-1 draws but City will have hope of a win after starting this campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory away to West Bromwich Albion on Monday.