LONDON (AP) — Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho played down the significance of dropping two members of his medical staff from match-day duties for treating an injured player, saying Friday "we need disagreements to improve."
Club doctor Eva Carneiro and head physiotherapist Jon Fearn were publicly rebuked by Mourinho for entering the field to treat Eden Hazard late in Chelsea's match against Swansea in the Premier League on Saturday. It left Chelsea temporarily down to nine players because goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had been sent off.
Mourinho confirmed that Carneiro and Fearn won't be involved in Sunday's match at Manchester City, but said they could resume their roles this season.
Mourinho had a meeting with his "fantastic" medical department on Thursday and said he had no concerns about their relationship.
"They tell me all the time that they were never praised as much as they were by me in the last couple of years," Mourinho said. "They also told me yesterday that we have had disagreements during that period. We need disagreements to improve. We work together and we improve together. That is the way we do things. It is a relationship that is open to disagreement."
Mourinho has been widely criticized for his reaction to Carneiro and Fearn, who appeared to be doing their jobs by attending to the needs of a player who said he was injured.
By describing their actions as "impulsive and naive" and showing a lack of knowledge of the game, Mourinho has been accused by medical professionals of giving the impression that players' welfare was not being prioritized.
British newspapers said Friday that video footage has emerged, released by British broadcaster Sky Sports, showing Mourinho shouting derogatory words as the medical staff treated Hazard. It wasn't clear if the words were directed specifically at Carneiro and Fearn.
"I am far from being ruthless. Far. Far," Mourinho said. "I have a fantastic relation with almost everyone who works with me. I am open to mistake, I am open to communication, I am open to dialogue. I am open to critics, I make mistakes."
Mourinho said selecting which members of the medical staff are on the bench for a game is like choosing a team lineup.
"For others it is more important what they do. Their contribution," Mourinho said. "What they do behind the scenes and the good of the team."
Mourinho said the incident, which has topped the sporting agenda in England this week, has not affected preparations for the match against City — one of Chelsea's expected rivals for the title this season.
"If somebody thinks a disagreement between two members of the medical staff and the manager can affect the week, it's somebody that doesn't have a clue about what football is and about preparation for matches," Mourinho said.