Chelsea club doctor Eva Carneiro may return to the bench in future despite the furore of her banishment for Sunday's match with Manchester City, manager Jose Mourinho said today.
The Chelsea boss has been heavily criticized for his reaction towards Carneiro and head physiotherapist Jon Fearn entering the field of play to treat Eden Hazard in the Blues' 2-2 draw with Swansea last weekend.
The Portuguese told the media afterwards that their "impulsive and naive" decision showed they did not "understand the game" with Carneiro's role at Chelsea now set to change significantly as a result.
But, after confirming both Carneiro and Fearn would be absent from their usual roles on the bench at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, Mourinho did not rule out their future return.
"Jon Fearn and Dr Carneiro will not be on the bench," Mourinho confirmed at his pre-match press conference.
"That does not mean that Sunday is for the rest of the season or their careers – they will not be on the bench on Sunday, that is clear, that is my responsibility."
Mourinho has come in for scrutiny following the controversy, while the Premier League Doctors' Group expressed its concern over the ongoing situation and said a reduction in Carneiro's role would be "unjust in the extreme".
But the Portuguese defended his relationship with Chelsea's medical staff and said that they are a team that should be allowed to have disagreements.
He said: "First of all I want to say I have a fantastic medical department led by Dr Paco Biosca, I have a good relationship with them.
"With more than a dozen professionals between doctors, physio, masseurs – I have a very good relationship with them.
"They tell me all the time that they were never praised as much as they were by me in the last two years.
"Normally when things go well managers keep it to themselves, I have praised them lots of times in the last couple of years and they don't forget that.
"They also told me that we have had disagreements during that period, we need disagreements to improve. We work together and we improve together, That is the way we do things. It is a relationship that is open to disagreement."
Carneiro joined Chelsea in February 2009, having previously worked at the British Olympic Medical Institute and with England Women's Football and UK Athletics.