AVB defends decision to leave injured goalkeeper on the pitch

AVB defends decision to leave injured goalkeeper on the pitch

Andre Villas-Boas has launched a scathing attack on those who criticised his decision to keep Hugo Lloris on the field of play after being knocked unconscious by Romelu Lukaku on Sunday.

FIFA's chief medical officer, Professional Footballers' Association head Gordon Taylor and brain injury charity Headway all hit out at the Tottenham manager for not substituting the goalkeeper following the collision.

Lloris needed lengthy treatment on the pitch and the Tottenham manager said afterwards that the Frenchman could not remember the incident.

Spurs insist Lloris was fit to continue playing following thorough checks by club doctor Shabaaz Mughal and physio Geoff Scott.

It is this criticism of the club's medical staff, who saved Fabrice Muamba's life at White Hart Lane two seasons ago, that has riled Villas-Boas so much.

"I stand absolutely by the decision I took and I stand by the decision that the medical department took following the checks that they made on the player," the Tottenham manager said in a fiery press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

"All the checks were according to the book.

"I have registered the fact that a couple of people have taken this opportunity to find the chance to get themselves publicised who have no experience in the pitch whatever in these type of situations.

"And I find it extremely disappointing that two people - a great doctor and a great physio, who saved the life of Muamba were heavily put into question by lots of incompetent people, with absolutely no experience on the pitch, no experience in the action, no experience in the moment.

"That is extremely serious and disappointing."

When asked if Scott and Mughal were angry about their conduct being questioned, Villas-Boas said: "Yes, of course."

Villas-Boas has been irked by comparisons between Lloris' situation and those encountered in different sports such as rugby, and other head injuries in football.

"It's something that astonishes me why it's tried to be put in the same mould as all of these situations that happened in the past," he said.

"My medical department has followed the Premier League guidelines for this type of situation.

"This is not comparable to American football, rugby, Andros Townsend's situation or Petr Cech's situation."

Rarely has Villas-Boas been so animated and passionate about a subject since he moved to England.

The Portuguese also appears to believe that Lukaku could have jumped over Lloris when the Frenchman dived for the ball in the goalless draw at Goodison Park.

"I find it remarkable as well that nobody has dedicated themselves to find out if the player could have avoided keeper and I'm disappointed that Lukaku hasn't contacted Hugo," Villas-Boas continued.

"I don't question Lukaku's integrity or human side, I have maximum respect for him and I think he has for me, but from all this excitement from something that is so negative I'm surprised no time was lost to study this.

"I don't want to question Lukaku, he's a young player, wonderfully gifted but I think he could have jumped over Lloris."

Villas-Boas says he has not taken the criticism of his decision to keep Lloris on to heart.

"People can have a pop at me at any time, I'm immune to that," he said with a smile.

"After my Chelsea experience, I took a vaccine that makes me immune to a couple of things. I've lived through a lot."

So despite the concerns of the experts who called for Lloris to be rested for at least a week, the goalkeeper is available to start Tottenham's Europa League clash against Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday.

Villas-Boas has made a decision on who will start in goal but will not make that call public until an hour before kick-off when the teams are announced.

"He was out on the pitch (training) this morning," the Spurs manager said.

"The selection has been made. (the media) will just have to wait."

After a summer spending spree totalling over £100m, Villas-Boas is able to rotate his team for the encounter with the Moldovan champions, even though he knows victory will be enough to see Spurs through to the knockout stages.

"We will make a lot of changes tomorrow but there will be no complacency," Villas-Boas said.

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