Ex-Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux has deplored Jose Mourinho’s behaviour towards former club doctor Eva Carneiro as putting football in England “back 30 years”.
Carneiro was publicly criticised by Mourinho for her actions in Chelsea’s opening game of the season against Swansea and subsequently left her position as head doctor at Stamford Bridge after being frozen out of first-team affairs by Mourinho.
Football Association Inclusion Advisory Board member Le Saux thinks Mourinho – who was handed a suspended stadium ban and a £50,000 fine for criticism of referees by the FA on Wednesday – has done serious damage to women working in British football with his recent conduct.
“What concerns me the most, given the work I’m doing for the FA, is the impact Mourinho’s behaviour may have throughout the whole game,” Le Saux said in his column for The Times.
“We’re trying to deal with some very sensitive issues and to change the culture of the game. Some good people at the FA have taken a kicking after concluding there was insufficient evidence to charge Mourinho, whilst the whole furore may also deter women from becoming involved in football, as well as discouraging clubs from employing them.
“A lot of people are working very hard to get the game in a better place, but after the last few weeks it feels as if we’ve gone back 30 years.”
As Chelsea have struggled to get going in 2015-16 – they sit 16th in the Premier League table after eight games – Mourinho has boasted it would be folly to sack him as there is no one they can replace him with who is a better manager.
Le Saux has challenged Mourinho’s insistence that he’s the best in the world, though, as he does not think it is possible to ordain such a title on a coach who refuses to accept when he’s in the wrong.
“If this had been handled differently, these negative issues would not have arisen,” he added. “Mourinho doesn’t seem to have reflected on the damage he’s done to his own image, the reputation of Chelsea and – more importantly – the reputation of the entire game.
“Winning things and being the best are two different thing. I define the best as not only someone who’s successful but who behaves and conforms to certain standards. Unless you show an acceptance of your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions, I question whether you are the best.”