Earlier this week, José Mourinho demoted Chelsea’s long-serving team doctor, days after he publicly showed her up during a game last weekend. He’s rightly come in for criticism for the decision, so now “sources close” to him have concocted an excuse for the change: the players didn’t feel comfortable around a lady.

The article in question comes in ONE World Sports’ Duncan Castles. Castles begins by explaining a bit of the backstory, then notes that, “[a]ccording to sources close to the Chelsea manager,” Mourinho had actually been contemplating this for a while. The reason?

Mourinho is said to have held reservations about Carneiro’s role within the first-team squad since at least last year. While there is no question about her professional abilities, the Portuguese coach was concerned that the dressing room dynamic was affected by the presence of a female. According to a source, some players had expressed misgivings to the coaching staff about the set-up, arguing that it forced them to alter their usual behavior in a team environment. Famous for his attention to detail, Mourinho has always sought to eliminate factors that might reduce his team’s likelihood to win matches.

You see, it’s not Mourinho himself that harbors any kind of retrograde opinions, it’s just that the players don’t like knowing there’s a woman around who might be offended if they run around and act like frat bros.

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It’s not clear to me how that’s exactly a problem, nor how this was never apparently an issue for any of the three other managers she’s worked with in her four years as Chelsea’s first team doctor, nor how the precipitating incident of this weekend in any way relates to the players’ comfort level with Carneiro, but the excuse’s reasonableness is not really the point here. Mourinho demoted her in a calculated way, saving himself the trouble of an outright firing while still embarrassing Carneiro enough to make his displeasure felt. This newest info will make her situation even more untenable, not just at Chelsea but possibly even for any club she could’ve potentially jumped to. This is a pretty shitty way to handle things, but it is so very Mourinho.

[ONE World Sports]