So when is it acceptable to leave an injured player stricken on the ground? Does his leg need to be at right angles, or maybe even lying a yard away from the rest of him before Jose allows his medical staff on to provide treatment. I jest, but there is a serious message here, at what point does the treatment of players move away from the remit of trained doctors and physios and into the hands of the manager?
The debacle from Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge rumbles on with news that Eva Carneiro, the Chelsea doctor, has been relieved of her match day duties, after running onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard, who had gone down injured with his team already down to ten men thanks to the sending off of Thibaus Courtois, his treatment meant that Chelsea would be left with only nine players until the Belgian was allowed to return to the pitch.
But is it really Carneiro’s fault? Mourinho blasted his medical team for “not knowing football”, and leaving his team at a disadvantage by rushing on to treat Hazard when he knew that Hazard was not really injured, but only tired. So surely this lays the blame at Hazard’s door. His act of gamesmanship in trying to run the clock down late on when his side were up against a rampant Swansea side has surely backfired and cost an otherwise capable member of medical staff her role.
Footballers have long been labelled as soft, going down far too easily and feigning injury being the bug-bears of many critics, and this is surely the biggest incident yet that has had an effect on someone off the pitch.
The ruling that injured players need to leave the field of play is always criticised, it was brought in to deter players from feigning injury to run the clock down by getting treatment, whether getting rid of it is the answer I do not know, a fine line has to be drawn to prevent players wasting time, and also teams being punished by losing one of their players even though they are the victim of foul play. Perhaps it would be possible to implement a system similar to rugby whereby the physio can enter the pitch during play, but imagine how angry Jose would be with his physios running onto the pitch without the say so of the referee.
Carneiro posted a thank you for the support that she has received on her Facebook page on Sunday. And what is clear from my perspective is that she and the medical staff were not at fault during this. The protocol for receiving treatment is that the referee sees to the player and asks if he wants treatment before waving the medical staff on, and this process was followed during the game. If Hazard was just tired, then he shouldn’t have said yes.
But perhaps there is one possibility that we are overlooking here, this weekend Chelsea take on title rivals Man City. Could this be a Mourinho mind game? He is famed for taking the attention away from his players.