- Associated Press - Saturday, April 9, 2016

LONDON (AP) - The doctor in a legal battle with Chelsea over being demoted after rushing onto the field to treat a player broke her public silence on Saturday with a speech stressing the importance of trusting medics.

After being undermined by then-manager Jose Mourinho, Eva Carneiro left Chelsea and she is pursuing a constructive dismissal case which is set to be heard by a public tribunal in June.

Addressing a football medical conference in London, Carneiro did not mention last August’s incident directly but talked generally about her responsibilities as a club doctor with “return to play” the theme.

“Trust in the medical team is absolutely essential,” Carneiro said. “If you get a player to trust you enough to guide the progression, he is much more likely to be able progress well and not have to rely on his innate perception of what he thinks is going on. If you are able to inform the right decision with confidence he will trust you have his best interests at heart.”

Carneiro is also suing Mourinho individually after the combative coach accused his medical staff last August of being “naive” for taking to the field to treat Eden Hazard with Chelsea already down to 10 men in the English Premier League season-opener against Swansea.

“The relationship with management absolutely affects how ready (players) feel to take on a risk,” Carneiro said in her speech.

Carneiro was treated like a celebrity at the Football Medicine Strategies conference, with delegates asked not to take pictures of her. There was a rush of delegates into the room before the speech, and an exodus straight afterward as the next presentation was beginning.

By coincidence, Carneiro was speaking as Chelsea was losing the reverse fixture 1-0 at Swansea - the team’s 10th loss of the season.

Chelsea’s embarrassing public row with its doctor set the tone for a shambolic season that saw Mourinho fired in December over “palpable discord” with his squad, and has led to the 10th-place team timidly surrendering the Premier League title easily won the previous season.

In a season when the confidence of Chelsea players has been shattered, Carneiro said “assessing the psychological readiness to play is a key skill to any doctor but particularly in a team environment.”

“I think, generally, there’s a perception that footballers are poor candidates for psychological intervention,” she added. “Increasingly, we have more intelligent footballers, more supportive family structures.”

Carneiro also highlighted how players have “social networks to cope with” while mentally preparing for a game. She did mention her own Facebook post a day after being publicly criticized by Mourinho, thanking the public for their support. The message was said to have annoyed the manager.


Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

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