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Might Jose Mourinho's 3-Year Itch Return After Physiotherapists Controversy?

Daniel Tiluk@@danieltilukFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2015

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho's first Chelsea stint was successful.

Starting in June 2004, enjoying five major trophies, an unbeaten Stamford Bridge league record and lifting the once middle-class west Londoners to upper-class heights, the Portuguese was a perfect hiring for Roman Abramovich's nouveau riche club.

As the age-old saying goes: "All good things must come to an end," but there was something premature about this particular conclusion.

Signed for club record fee, Andriy Shenchenko's marginal role under Jose Mourinho created tension.
Signed for club record fee, Andriy Shenchenko's marginal role under Jose Mourinho created tension.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arguments over style, the scouting and Andriy Shevchenko reportedly created fissures (as noted by the Guardian's Dominic Fifield) in Mourinho and Abramovich's relationship after nearly three-and-a-half years; the then-44-year-old manager shockingly resigned from his post in September 2007 with three seasons left on his contract.

Following Mourinho's first Chelsea spell, he managed at Inter Milan and Real Madrid for five seasons, winning two league titles, one league cup and the 2009/10 Champions League with the Italians and one league title and one league cup with the Spanish contingent.

It seems the Portuguese has something of a nomadic personality. Whether curious, bored, unable to maintain lasting relationships with those in power or a combination of all three, there appears to be a lack of long-term viability when he is employed.

Returned to Stamford Bridge for a second time, and in his third year, Mourinho's perceived differential treatment of others has reared itself yet again.

Jose Mourinho's track record suggests: Brilliant in the short term, not so much the long term.
Jose Mourinho's track record suggests: Brilliant in the short term, not so much the long term.JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images

Since Chelsea's final game of the 2014/15 Premier League season, there have been three situations involving Mourinho that look like possible harbingers.

The first was Petr Cech's sale to Arsenal. Compelled by Abramovich to honour the goalkeeper's marathon of service, the 33-year-old was allowed to seek employment with the Gunners. Though willing to let the veteran leave, selling Cech to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal was surely not Mourinho's wish.

Furthermore, having an owner tamper with personnel decisions must exasperate a manager with an impeccable transfer record.

Secondly, and related to the first, the Blues have stood relatively still this transfer window—despite Mourinho having an extra month during the 2014/15 season to identify targets and the whole summer to chase them.

Less than a month remains before 2 September's deadline and Chelsea replaced Cech with Asmir Begovic and Didier Drogba with Radamel Falcao. Only select loanees (Victor Moses, Bertrand Traore, etc.) and academy players (Ola Aina, Nathaniel Chalobah, etc.) have been true additions to the first team.

Having the Petr Cech decision made above him would seem disconcerting for a man like Jose Mourinho.
Having the Petr Cech decision made above him would seem disconcerting for a man like Jose Mourinho.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

As Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal strengthen their respective squads—spending £147 million collectively—Chelsea have only spent £12.25 million this summer. Linked with John Stones and Baba Rahman, per the London Evening Standard's Simon Johnson, Chelsea are yet to capture the signatures of defenders their manager deems necessary for success.

The third incident was Mourinho's reaction to physiotherapists running onto the pitch during the final minutes vs. Swansea City last Saturday.

Doctors Jon Fearn and Eva Carneiro, during stoppage time, whilst the Blues were down to 10 men, ran to treat Eden Hazard, temporarily leaving Chelsea with nine players. Visibly enraged by their decision, Mourinho elected to voice his displeasure publicly with Sky Sports in the game's post-match interview, when asked about his tantrum, Mourinho responded:

I was unhappy with my medical staff because you have to understand the game. Even if you are a kit man, a doctor or a secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game.

You have to know that you have one player less, and when you go to the pitch to assist a player, you must be sure that the player has a serious problem.

I was sure that Eden hadn't a serious problem. He had a knock, he was very, very tired and my medical department in an impulse, naive, left me with eight out-field players; and in a counter-attack, after a set piece, we were with two players less.

On its face, Mourinho has a point. The medical department should be more prudent when their team is already down one player, but their duty of care is not the scoreboard, rather the players. One cannot blame doctors for being doctors. When a footballer is down—and a referee signals them to provide care—they provide care.

Chelsea's medical staff were correct in their instincts, but could have been more cautious with treating Eden Hazard.
Chelsea's medical staff were correct in their instincts, but could have been more cautious with treating Eden Hazard.Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

To his credit, Mourinho would not have known those particular comments were going to be paper fodder. Fearn has been relatively anonymous, even though he ran on the pitch first, but Carneiro has been subject of much discussion.

Sparking debates of sexism and treatment of women in the workplace, the 41-year-old makes the story an easy sell—especially given her cult-like status in the minds of many football fans—despite Mourinho never mentioning either of his staff members by name.

Following Carneiro's use of Facebook (where she showed gratitude to those who defended her actions) her role at Chelsea Football Club—via the Telegraph's Matt Law—was reduced, along with her colleague.

Though largely manufactured (and not worth this amount of coverage), the story has predictably caught fire, adding another layer of conjecture on Mourinho's state of mind heading into his "second third season" with the Blues.

A serial winner, loved by players and fans, Jose Mourinho leaving Chelsea would be a nightmare.
A serial winner, loved by players and fans, Jose Mourinho leaving Chelsea would be a nightmare.ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Signing a new four-year contract to stay at Stamford Bridge on 7 August, the now-52-year-old appears happy to stay in west London, but could those four years be conditional? An inability to control/complete transfers and incessant rows make Mourinho an enigmatic powder keg.

Chelsea would be vacuous to choose "doctors > manager," and showed their decision via reduced roles for both Fearn and Carneiro, but the public at large—whether fair or unfair—cannot be reduced as such.

There are many avenues to becoming radioactive, some included: arrogance, bullying and showing no sympathy/empathy toward caregivers. If the Portuguese was not going for a hat-trick, many have given him one anyway.

Winning, however, is the best deodorant.

Travelling to Manchester City on Sunday, Mourinho can mask the growing stench with three points, but Manuel Pellegrini's league leaders will not be too forthcoming.

*Stats via WhoScored.com; transfer fees via Soccerbase where not noted.