London, Aug 14 (IANS) Former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown has slammed Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for his outburst against medical staff during an English Premier League game earlier this week.
Mourinho had erupted in anger on the touchline after Chelsea doctors Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn raced onto the pitch to treat injured midfielder Eden Hazard during second half stoppage time of their 2-2 draw against Swansea City.
The move temporarily reduced Chelsea – whose goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was sent off earlier in the match – to eight men which Mourinho felt left the team hamstrung in the closing stages of the game.
The Portuguese coach later blamed the duo for lacking the ability to understand the nuances of the game and have banned them from attending future matches and training sessions.
The move has attracted a hail of criticism although the top bosses at Chelsea have stood firmly behind their manager. Keown, however, asserted that Mourinho’s reaction was unjustified.
“Mourinho’s actions towards Eva Carneiro are indefensible. If something like this happens it ripples through the club. That ruthlessness affects people. The support staff will earn nothing like the money the players are on but by all accounts I’ve heard there is a real generosity between players and staff at Chelsea. But this kind of behaviour can deeply affect people and the mood at the club,” Keown wrote on Thursday in his coloumn for the Daily Mail.
“The medics have a close relationship with their players so they will have had his best interests at heart. That’s all they’re guilty of.”
“Jose has gone for a small target, an easy target, with Carneiro. I know Jon Fearn from my days at Reading and he is a top, genuine guy and as good as they come as a physio. He always did his job and got on with it without problems. So if you’re going to have a problem with somebody like Jon Fearn you’re going to have a problem with everyone on the planet,” he added.
“But I feel the whole saga is all because of a nervousness at the club at the moment. And that’s brought about by his team. They just do not look as solid as last season.”
The former central defender, who has more than 300 appearances in an Arsenal jersey, felt that Hazard must also cop his share of the blame in the controversy.
“If you take it back a few steps, it starts with Eden Hazard. He is going to be the most-fouled player in the Premier League and he goes down in a heap. It certainly looked like he was hurt, not just tired. But if he’s not injured then he shouldn’t go down at that stage of the game. Why is Jose not having a word in Hazard’s ear,” Keown asked.