Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists the welfare of his players is paramount, but has refused to explain why two members of his medical staff have been stood down from their matchday duties.
Doctor Eva Carneiro and physiotherapist Jon Fearn will not be on the bench when Chelsea visit Manchester City on Sunday following a disagreement with Mourinho, who fumed as the pair rushed to treat Eden Hazard late on in the club's Premier League opener against Swansea - momentarily reducing the Stamford Bridge outfit to nine men.
Asked whether he was in breach of General Medical Council guidelines on patient safety by reprimanding Carneiro and Fearn, Mourinho said: "I had a meeting with my medical department [on Friday]. 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 player is more important than the result.
"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.
"Now that this is clear, let's go and speak about other things related to our jobs together.
"The thing I repeated one, two and three times, is that the player is more important than the manager, than the referee, than the result. It doesn't matter."
However, Mourinho refused to explain why - if that was the case - he had relieved Carneiro and Fearn of their matchday responsibilities, at least for the time being.
"You can make the questions and we don't stop you making the questions," he said. "But you cannot make me answer you. I don't answer."
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