Jose Mourinho’s exasperation at the intense questioning over his handling of doctor Eva Carneiro and physio Jon Fearn saw the Chelsea manager threaten to walk out of yesterday’s press conference.
Even by the outspoken Portuguese’s standards, these have been a whirlwind few days at Stamford Bridge following an incident towards the end of last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Swansea.
Mourinho was infuriated to see Carneiro and Fearn run onto the field to tend to Eden Hazard, telling the media after the season opener that their “impulsive and naive” decision showed they did not “understand the game”.
The Chelsea boss was condemned by a variety of medical organisations and football personalities for those comments and the subsequent development that the pair’s roles were being significantly changed.
Mourinho confirmed on Friday that they would not be on the bench at Manchester City this weekend, telling a packed media room at the club’s Cobham training ground that the decision did not mean they would never return.
The Chelsea boss was reluctant to spend the whole press conference speaking about the issue but, once the 19 camera crews, clutch of photographers and broadcast journalists left the room, newspaper reporters pressed him on the matter.
“I don’t answer,” was the stock response Mourinho gave three times after questions over the issue of medical staff entering the field of play was brought up, before Chelsea’s head of media Steve Atkins interjected in a bid to calm tensions.
However, the exchanges remained terse and Mourinho’s responses curt, before he gave a lengthy, if rambling, answer on the situation.
“The first thing I said to my medical department – and I repeated it three times because I wanted to start the meeting with them having no doubts about it - was if we know, and it is easy to know by many ways, if one player has a problem, the players are more important than the result,” Mourinho said.
“He is more important than the manager, he is even more important than the referee. And if the referee does not give you permission to go to the pitch, you go. You go.
“It does not matter if the referee is not happy with that. It does not matter if the manager is not happy with that.
“If you know – if you feel, and it is easy to know when to feel because there are many examples of it – you go and you don’t think twice.”
Then things became heated.
As another question on the matter was readied, an exasperated Mourinho snapped: “Don’t make me another question or I go. I go. Think twice before you ask the question. Think twice.”
When the reporter instead directed his question at Atkins, Mourinho got up from his chair and walked to the door saying: “Now I go, have a good weekend.”
However, Mourinho was pacified before he could leave the room and returned to his seat, where the subject turned to Sunday’s encounter with Manchester City.
As the newspaper journalists’ section came to a close, the subject changed to the surprise Mourinho expressed at the number of those in attendance to talk about the issues surrounding the medical team.
The Portuguese rejected the notion he was the most influential man in English football since Alex Ferguson retired and was perplexed by the suggestions he was a powerful figure.
“Power, oh my word,” Mourinho said. “Power? Jesus Christ! Power of what?
“The only power I have is to choose the team that plays Sunday, to choose who goes on the bench, to choose what we do in the week, which exercises we do, which direction we try to take our game plan.
“It is the power I have and that is not power, it is part of my job to advise my board to do something related to the transfer market, to do something in other departments in relation to my needs and experiences. But I have power for nothing.”
Mourinho was, though, reminded that he referred to himself as the Godfather two years ago.
“I am not the Godfather,” he said to laughter in the room. “I am not the Godfather.”