In Depth

Chelsea doctor row: is Hazard to blame for feigning injury?

Few people have questioned the role of the player, who Mourinho claims was clearly unhurt, in the incident

Jose Mourinho brushed off questions about club doctor Eva Carneiro in his press conference ahead of Chelsea's game against Manchester City on Sunday, and also refused to talk about the role played by midfielder Eden Hazard in the medical drama that has gripped the nation this week, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Carneiro, the first team doctor at Stamford Bridge, and physio Jon Fearn have both been removed from the match-day bench after angering Mourinho in the closing minutes of the game against Swansea on Saturday by rushing onto the field to treat Hazard after a tackle.

Their intervention meant that the Belgian had to leave the pitch, which temporarily reduced Chelsea to nine men, as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had earlier been sent off. It also meant that Hazard was unable to take the free kick that he had just won.

Mourinho later called Carneiro and Fearn "naive" prompting criticism from many quarters, with the latest rebuke coming from Fifa, says The Times.     

Although the focus this week has been on the actions of the medics and the reaction of Mourinho, there has been little discussion of Hazard's role in the incident, his reaction to the tackle and the wider issue of feigning injury

When Hazard went down under a challenge from Ashley Williams, he was left writhing on the floor in what looked like genuine agony. Chelsea won a free kick, Williams was booked and Hazard lay on the turf clutching his groin. Referee Mike Oliver appeared to ask the Belgian if he was alright and twice gestured to the bench for medical assistance. Few would question either the player or referee's actions.

Mourinho, though, was unimpressed. "I could clearly see it was not a problem," he declared afterwards. Explaining that medics should only step on the pitch if "the player has a real problem and not a little knock".

This raises questions about Mourinho's judgement. TV presenter Jacqui Oatley claimed on Twitter that Hazard requested treatment and the player did appear to be in pain.

But if he was not badly injured, as his manager insists, why did he call for medical help and why did he spend so long on the turf? The assumption could be that either Mourinho knew he was play-acting or was wrong in his assessment of the injury.

Tiredness is one explanation for Hazard's prolonged spell on the turf, but having won a free kick in injury time of a game they were trying to win a level of urgency was required. On top of that, having won the free kick, Hazard had plenty of time to get his breath back while setting up the set piece.

Perhaps it was Hazard who was naive, for not realising that he would have to leave the pitch if he was treated. After all the rule that players must be treated off the pitch was introduced to stamp out feigned injuries.

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