It has been a very good week for José Mourinho. All the attention is off a dire 2-2 draw with Swansea, the players are focused for a big match against Manchester City, and his medical team will be back on the bench in no time. Find out how..
Mourinho was evidently just bored during pre-season. He labelled Arsene Wenger a “chequebook manager”, which is quite ironic given the budget he has been allowed at clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid, as well as digging fun at Rafa Benitez and his wife for the former Liverpool manager’s weight.
Perhaps Mourinho needed cheering up after Chelsea’s win-less pre-season. Yes, they won two penalty shoot-outs, but on the basis of a ninety minute match, the Premier League champions failed to win a single game.
So what, it’s pre-season you say? Perhaps that’s fair.
A week before the season opener against Swansea, Chelsea faced Arsenal in the Community Shield, threatening Arsene Wenger’s side little without the force of striker Diego Costa. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain’s fantastic strike decided the game. Here, we saw signs of Mourinho’s side unprepared and sloppy defensively.
Watch the right hand side of the pitch. If such a vast space had not been granted to Arsenal, it’s unlikely Chamberlain would have had the opportunity to score.
Again, it is ‘only the Community Shield’ so why does it matter? In the league, however, there is nowhere left to hide. Mistakes are noticed much more regularly, poured over and criticised by a colossal number of presenters, pundits, journalists and fans.
Chelsea’s game against Swansea was a disaster. From the shambolic marking of Bafetimbi Gomis that lead to Andre Ayew’s goal, to the deserved red card delivered to Thibaut Courtois for a reckless tackle on the ex-Lyon forward.
In the dying moments, Eden Hazard hit the ground like a ton of bricks after tangling with Ashley Williams. The referee Michael Oliver indicated for Chelsea’s medical team to enter the field of play, and all was right with the world.
That is before Mourinho decides to scream obscenities at Jon Fearn and Eva Carneiro, calling one or both of them a ‘son of a bitch‘ amongst other expletives.
There is no doubting that Mourinho was furious, but there is every chance that he is guilty of using this lapse of judgement to his advantage in the media.
Mourinho has always protected those internally at a club he is managing, wrapping his own players in cotton wool to protect them from criticism. He bears the brunt of the insults and criticisms after a defeat to the likes of Sunderland to shine the negative limelight on himself, as long as his players are not affected by the media.
This simply cannot change. Mourinho’s mantra when it comes to shielding his players does not just vanish.
You see, a clear answer as to why Mourinho has not only gone too far but practically disappeared off the edge of reasoning is in front of our eyes.
The shocking nature of his attack on Chelsea’s medical team is an extraordinarily extreme but clever way of deflecting the media’s attention from Chelsea’s troubles on the pitch to focus their energy onto Mourinho and the club’s medical team.
Think for a moment, how often have you heard pundits or journalists talk about Chelsea’s stuttering start to the season? Aside from all the necessary reviews of the game, media outlets have been concentrating on ‘that incredible outburst by Mourinho’ or ‘José’s unfair treatment of Eva Carneiro’.
Where is the discussion about the defence going for a stroll when Gomis was lurking in the box? What has happened to the lengthy debates about how Mourinho’s defence allowed Swansea to slip in between their lines?
This has disappeared since Mourinho realised he could use this bad press to his advantage. Banning Jon Fearn and Eva Carneiro from the bench took the attention away from Hazard, away from a disappointing draw and onto an issue Mourinho did not prioritise. It simply worked as a master stroke.
Speaking at his press conference, Arsene Wenger’s claim was downright dismissed. Why? Simply because Mourinho did not care how his medical team felt as long as his players were unaffected.
“If somebody thinks that a disagreement between manager and medical can affect team, they don’t have a clue”
With the likes of Sky Sports and ESPN now preparing for a crunch encounter between Chelsea and Manchester City, the Swansea result will be forgotten about until the season reviews come next summer.
Jose: 'Jon Fearn and Dr Carneiro will not be on the bench on Sunday but that doesn't mean they cannot be in the future.' #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 14, 2015
Today, many will see Mourinho’s press conference as a backtrack for this ‘mistake’, but what Mourinho set out to achieve after stripping the roles of Carneiro and Fearn has been accomplished. A very good week indeed..
The mind game master is back to his old tricks.