Roberto Martínez backs Romelu Lukaku after AVB criticism
Everton manager says Spurs striker Roberto Soldado is the one who should apologise
Tottenham Hotspur’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) lies injured after a collision with Everton’s Romalu Lukaku at Goodison Park. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
The Spurs manager André Villas-Boas on Wednesday called for an apology from Romelu Lukaku and greater scrutiny into the Everton striker’s role in the incident that left goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with concussion at Goodison Park. Villas-Boas has been criticised for allowing Lloris to continue in the goalless draw, prompting sympathy from his Everton counterpart who has called for a rule change to enforce a substitution in the event of a player suffering a head injury.
But the claim that Lukaku could have avoided colliding with the France international received a frosty response from Martínez, who highlighted a second-half incident involving Soldado as the only premeditated offence between the teams.
The Everton manager said: “The good thing is that you can watch the replay and see the video evidence. All Romelu is doing is carrying on his run and he can’t disappear. It is unfortunate. I don’t think André Villas-Boas mentioned there was any intent or wrongdoing. He only mentioned maybe he expected a bit of an apology. Obviously we’re waiting for Roberto Soldado to apologise to Phil Jagielka and use the same phonecall so we don’t have to pay for two phonecalls.”
Martínez believes criticism of Villas-Boas’s decision to allow Lloris to play on is unfair, however, and that medical opinion on head injuries should be written into the rules of the game. An additional substitution should be allowed for head injuries after three substitutions have been made, the Everton manager argued, and the decision taken out of a manager’s hands.
He explained: “It would be very unfair to be a manager in a position where you have to take a player off just to avoid any sort of risk without having that medical knowledge. My view is that I don’t think it should be a manager’s decision whether you take a player off or not in that situation. If there is a strong view from the medical side that when a player gets concussed he should come off, I think we should look into it and make it a rule.
“If it becomes a rule, with an understanding for everyone that if that happens the player should come off and it shouldn’t count as a substitution, that would be a lot easier. Because if you are put in a position where a player has to come off when three substitutions have been made it is a real shame, as it is going to affect the competition. You wouldn’t want to see a team down to 10 men but the last thing you want is to put the health of any player at risk. It is a serious issue which needs to be spoken about and the right decision found from the top.”