Andre Villas-Boas angrily defends his decision to allow Hugo Lloris to continue
Tottenham manager says it was “remarkable” Romelu Lukaku’s role has not been questioned further
Hugo Lloris lies injured after a collison with Romelu Lukaku.
Andre Villas-Boas has angrily defended his decision to allow Hugo Lloris to continue playing against Everton on Sunday, despite the goalkeeper appearing disoriented after being hit on the head by Romelu Lukaku’s knee as the pair challenged for a ball.
Tottenham Hotspur have been widely criticised for not substituting the player but Villas-Boas insisted the club did nothing wrong and accused “incompetent people” of turning on Spurs to attract attention to themselves. Villas-Boas also said it was “remarkable” Lukaku’s role in the incident has not been questioned further.
Tottenham originally intended to replace Lloris with Brad Friedel after the incident but the Frenchman demanded to play on and, after examination on the pitch by the club doctor, Shabaaz Mughal, and club physiotherapist, Geoff Scott, Villas-Boas let him do so.
That decision has since been condemned by, among others, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the international players’ union, Fifpro, Fifa’s chief medical officer, Professor Jiri Dvorak, and the head injury charity Headway, who described the club’s actions as “dangerous and irresponsible”. However, Villas-Boas remains unrepentant.
“I stand absolutely by the decision I took and the decision the medical department has taken following the checks made on the player, which were according to the book,” he said. “A couple of people have taken this opportunity to find a chance to get themselves publicised, people who have had no experience on the pitch whatsoever in this type of situation.”
As far as the club are concerned, Lloris did not lose consciousness and was not concussed. Villas-Boas suggested it is wrong to question the responsibility of the same medical staff whose actions helped save the life of Fabrice Muamba when the former Bolton Wanderers player collapsed from cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane two years ago.
“Two persons – a great doctor and a great physio who saved the life of Fabrice Muamba – were put into question by lots of incompetent people and people who have no experience on the pitch, in the action, in the moment.”
Villas-Boas added: “I want to believe that Lukaku’s leg was not left late to clash into Hugo’s head . . . but I think he could have jumped over perfectly.”
Lloris underwent a precautionary brain scan on Sunday, during which nothing irregular was detected.