Dark clouds for Mourinho ahead of Sunday's showdown with Man City
Mourinho faces test of mettle against rivals Man City on Sunday
MAN CITY v CHELSEA
(Sunday, 11pm, Singtel TV Ch 102, StarHub TV Ch 227)
One game into the new season and there are already dark clouds hovering above Stamford Bridge.
Manager Jose Mourinho expanded his career list of scapegoats, this time targeting Chelsea's first-team doctor Eva Carneiro for not understanding football enough to his liking.
Carneiro, he charged, had needlessly reduced his team to nine men temporarily in their opening encounter against Swansea last Saturday, after she rushed onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard for what he thought wasn't a serious injury.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois got himself sent off prior to that. His subsequent appeal against a mandatory one-match suspension has since been turned down.
And, for their troubles, all the Blues got from the home match with Swansea was a point in the 2-2 draw.
If Mourinho was hoping for a flying start similar to last season's early blast, then he couldn't have been more distressed at how things are turning out.
Things are set to get even trickier for the 52-year-old Portuguese.
Come Sunday, Chelsea play at Manchester City, who began their season with a bang - a 3-0 away victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Judging by their lacklustre performance over the weekend, the Blues don't look like they are in a perfect frame of mind to take on a rampant City side.
Twice, Chelsea led against the Swans. But, on both occasions, Garry Monk's men hit back.
That the Blues got the benefit of a Federico Fernandez own goal too will not be lost on Mourinho.
A lack of notable reinforcements during the summer has already left the club looking more vulnerable than they usually are.
The additions of Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao look inadequate amid the raft of departures which included Mohamed Salah, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba and Filipe Luis.
Begovic will undoubtedly play back-up to the brilliant Courtois during the course of the campaign, even though he gets a chance to shine on Sunday.
Falcao, on the other hand, looks nothing more than a gamble which may backfire on Mourinho.
Juxtapose these with last season's arrivals - Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, Luis, Loic Remy and Juan Cuadrado - and the contrast is stark, to say the least.
Chelsea will walk into the Etihad Stadium with the Eva Carneiro controversy still swirling over their heads.
BLUES FOR BLUES
Disarray sounds too strong a word, and yet, doesn't look out of place either.
City, on the other hand, are brimming with confidence after hitting the ground running.
Sunday's clash will provide an early test of Mourinho's mettle.
He has his back to the wall. He faces unfavourable odds.
Then again, maybe this is just the way he likes it.
'Mourinho's behaviour was appalling'
Our first priority as doctors and physios is the health and safety of the individual player... Maybe Mourinho should be criticising his player for staying down, rather than the medical staff. — Australia cricket team doctor Peter Brukner (below), on Mourinho reducing the role of team doctor Eva Carneiro (above) after she had gone onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard
Jose Mourinho's behaviour towards Chelsea first-team doctor Eva Carneiro has been "absolutely appalling", says leading sports physician Peter Brukner.
Towards the end of last Saturday's stuttering 2-2 draw at home to Swansea, the reigning champions were temporarily reduced to nine men as Eden Hazard had to leave the field.
Chelsea boss Mourinho was visibly infuriated to see physio Jon Fearn and doctor Carneiro run on to the field, telling the media afterwards that their "impulsive and naive" decision showed they did not "understand the game".
Since then, Press Association Sport has learnt that Carneiro's role at Chelsea has changed significantly.
Although she keeps the title as Chelsea's first-team doctor, she will no longer be involved in matches and training sessions.
That seeming demotion understandably raises questions over her long-term future and Brukner, formerly Liverpool's head of sports medicine and sports science, believes Mourinho owes his medical staff an apology.
"I thought it was appalling behaviour by the manager," the Australia cricket team doctor said.
"He has a player who has gone down, who has remained down and the referee obviously considered it serious enough to summon the doctor and the physio.
"They went on as they must do when they are summoned on and the player is down and, as a result, the player had to come off.
"What do you expect the doctor to do? Just ignore the referee beckoning them on?"
"Maybe he should be criticising his player for staying down, rather than the medical staff," Brukner added, speaking to talkSPORT.
DOING THEIR JOB
"The medical staff were only responding to the referee's instruction to come and treat the player, who was on the ground.
"So then to criticise the medical staff publicly in the way that he did was absolutely appalling behaviour.
"The medical staff deserve a public apology and I'm very disappointed that the club haven't come out and done something to support them - they were just doing their job.
"Our first priority as doctors and physios is the health and safety of the individual player, and that's what they were attending to."
Former Chelsea left back Graeme Le Saux agreed.
He tweeted: "It was poor from Mourinho... It shows priorities are not always right when it comes to protocol. Concussions most serious examples."
Carneiro joined Chelsea in February 2009, having previously worked at the British Olympic Medical Institute and with England Women's Football and UK Athletics.
She thanked people for their support on Sunday, posting on Facebook: "I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated."
That status has attracted more than 23,000 likes.
A Chelsea club spokesman said on the matter: "We do not comment on internal staffing matters." - PA Sport.