Jose Mourinho could not hide his displeasure with the Chelsea medical staff after Chelsea started the defence of their title with a 2-2 draw at home with Swansea City.
Chelsea took the lead after 23 minutes through an Oscar free kick after César Azpilicueta was brought down on the edge of the area. Swansea struck back just 6 minutes later, though, when Andre Ayew slotted home after Bafétimbi Gomis’ header was saved by Thibaut Courtois.
Cheslea struck again almost immediately when Willian’s shot struck Federico Fernandez’s leg and looped over a stranded Łukasz Fabiański, and when the Blues went in 2-1 to the good at half-time a home victory seemed inevitable.
Swansea had other ideas, however, and when Jonjo Shelvey sent a lovely chipped through-ball over the Chelsea defence for Gomis to run on to the game changed in a heartbeat. Gomis always looked more likely to reach the ball first than Courtois and when he touched it away from the Belgian stopper a penalty and a red card became inevitable. Gomis duly scored from the spot kick past replacement goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and Chelsea had 35 minutes to hang on to the draw.
Mourinho was incensed by the penalty decision and the red card for his first choice goalkeeper, but his wrath was chiefly reserved for his own medical team. The moment that so engaged the Chelsea manager’s ire came about in the closing stages of the match when Eden Hazard was tripped by Gylfi Sigurdsson with 6 minutes to go.
With Courtois already off the pitch, the medical staff ran on to deal with Hazard’s problem, despite the Belgian playmaker not appearing to be particularly badly injured. Premier League rules state that if a player receives treatment then he must leave the field of play. This caused Mourinho to say, “I was unhappy with my medical staff. They were impulsive and naïve”.
The Chelsea manager then went on to say something that some consider to have mysoginistic undertones when he stated, “Whether you are a kit man, doctor or secretary on the bench you have to understand the game”. The potentially sexist comment comes on the back of the Portuguese manager suggesting Rafael Benitez’s wife should be “watching her husband’s diet” rather than commenting on Mourinho’s managerial history.
Mourinho went on, “You have to know you have one player less and to assist a player you must be sure he has a serious problem. I was sure Eden did not have a serious problem. He had a knock. He was tired”. As it turned out the decision to remove Hazard from the pitch didn’t make any difference to the end result, though Mourinho might feel that the Blues had more chance of snatching a winner with his winger on the pitch.
Mourinho wouldn’t be drawn on the referee’s performance but did say, “If you have 10 men and are winning you can defend well and try to find a strategy, but to play with 10 men and try to win the game is more difficult. I would say we were the best team with 11 players and with 10 we fought hard, some fighting at the limit of their condition”.
A home draw isn’t the perfect start to the season for Chelsea, especially with Liverpool and Manchester United both picking up 3 points, however Arsenal’s defeat at The Emirates against West Ham will please the self-professed Special One. Doubtless he’ll be keenly watching the Manchester City game and hoping that West Bromwich Albion can do his club a favour. Chelsea are usually strong starters in the league and will be desperate to shake off the milieu with which they ended their pre-season and have started the campaign itself.