Jose Mourinho has addressed the recent controversy surrounding his heated disagreement with Chelseas medical team, confirming that Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn will both be absent from the away bench for the upcoming trip to Manchester City but also leaving the door open for the duo to return in future.
In what will surely go down as one of the earliest-in-the-season controversies to dominate Premier League headlines in recent years, head doctor Carneiro and experienced first team physio Fearn incurred the wrath of Mourinho during the latter stages of Chelseas 2-2 draw with Swansea on 8 August after they entered the field of play to provide treatment to the felled Eden Hazard.
While the tired Belgian did look to be in some discomfort, Mourinho was incensed that such a disruption would momentarily leave his side, who had already seen goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois dismissed for a rash tackle on Bafetimbi Gomis, temporarily down to nine men as they fought to hold on to a point.
After being rebuked by a furious Mourinho, The Telegraph reported earlier this week that while Caneiro will remain in her current job and continue working with players at Chelseas Cobham training ground, she is likely to lose her place on the bench and cease attending matches. The same publication stated that Fearns continued presence on matchdays was also subject to doubt.
Mourinho subsequently confirmed the pairs absence at a busy press conference prior to his sides visit to the Etihad Stadium this weekend, but insisted that the relationship between him and his extended medical staff remains strong.
Look, I hope this room is full because the champions will be playing against the former champion, because we have hopefully a big match on Sunday, but I knew it already. It is not a surprise. No question, he said in a prepared statement as relayed by The Mirror.
I dont want to run away from it. I accept the question, and understand. First of all, I want to say I have a fantastic medical led by Dr Paco Biosca, more than a dozen professionals, very good relation with them and, as they tell me all the time, they were never praised so much as in last few years. I praise them lots of times.
While Carneiro and Fearn will have to make do with lower-profile roles for now, Mourinho appeared to suggest that both could retake their seats alongside the rest of his backroom staff later this season.
We have disagreements during this period, we need disagreements to improve, he continued. We work together. Your question about the bench. For some people its important. For others, its not... Its my decision. I have seven assistants, only four can go on bench. Seven kitmen, only two. Medical, only two on bench.
Dr John Fearn and Dr Eva Carneiro will not be on the bench, but that doesnt mean for rest of season. My decision does not mean they wont be on the bench in the future. If you want to speak to me about football, Im here. If you want to ask about other things, Im not here.