Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has been been ruthlessly axed after appearing to undermine manager Jose Mourinho on social media.
The 41-year-old – along with first-team physio Jon Fearn – will not appear on the bench for Sunday’s game at Manchester City, and is unlikely to return to it.
Although Carneiro will keep her role as team doctor, she will no longer be at training sessions, travel with the squad to games or even enter the team hotel on matchdays.
It’s understood the decision, which has left the Chelsea players stunned, has been taken jointly by Mourinho and the champions’ hierarchy.
It comes after Carneiro acknowledged fans on Facebook who sided with her after she was criticised by Mourinho in the wake of Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Swansea.
Carneiro and Fearn were both publicly blasted by the Chelsea boss in an extraordinary press conference for entering the pitch late in the game to treat injured Eden Hazard.
While Fearn subsequently remained tight-lipped, however, Carneiro took to Facebook.
In the wake of claims from Mourinho that his medics were ‘naive’ and needed to ‘understand the game’, Carneiro posted: “I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated.”
By the time the club had established that the message, posted on Sunday night, was genuine, it had already sparked further support from her fellow professionals and criticism for Mourinho.
It is so far unclear whether Carneiro is prepared to accept such a public downgrading of her position at the club.
She has been a hugely popular figure with the Chelsea players and with the club’s fans.
Tellingly, however, she was not brought to the club by Mourinho. She was promoted to the first team by Andre Villas-Boas in the 2010-11 season after two years of working with the reserves.
Her axing has led to criticism from supporters, who believe the punishment for Carneiro is an over-reaction.
Mourinho was angry on Saturday that Carneiro and Fearn’s decision to treat Hazard, with keeper Thibaut Courtois already sent off, left Chelsea temporarily down to nine men as he tried to win the game.
He vented his fury from his technical area then made his point in the post-match press conference. He said: “I was not happy with my medical staff. Even if you are a kit man, doctor or secretary on the bench you have to understand the game.
“You have to know you have one player less and when you go to the pitch to assist a player you have to make sure your player has a serious injury.
“I was sure he hadn’t a serious problem. He had a knock, he was very tired, but my medical department – on an impulse – was naive and left me with eight outfield players in a counter attack after a set-piece.”
According to the rules, an injured player must be removed from the pitch once a member of the medical team comes on — regardless of the seriousness of the problem.
Chelsea sources insist, however, that Mourinho’s criticism was not aimed solely at Carneiro but at his medical team as a whole.