It’s been a rough couple of weeks for our esteemed leader, first AVB took umbrage by the fans’ reaction in the home game against Hull, then he gets slated by practically every media outlet in the country for allowing Lloris stay on the pitch after his horrific collision with Lukaku in the Everton game last weekend.
The media outcry after the game on Sunday was extreme to say the least, every “expert”, social media outlet and newspaper was full of condemnation for Villas Boas for allowing our keeper remain on the park after his head came second best in a clash with a 6ft Belgian’s knee. Let’s not be too dismissive here, head injuries and in particular, concussions, are a serious business with more and more research being carried out each year on the lasting damage they can do. It’s an area I’ve had some interest in after reading about former WWE wrestler and American footballer Chris Nowinski’s work in the field and his foundation of the Sports Legacy Institute.
To assess Sunday’s incident it’s important to look at the reasons why the Spurs boss and his staff felt it was permissible to let Lloris finish out the game.
The Tottenham medical staff are second to none, this is the same medical staff that saved Muamba’s life after his collapse in the F.A. cup tie at the lane last year…take a minute to let that sink in…they saved a man’s life…as in…THEY BROUGHT HIM BACK FROM THE DEAD! So you’ll forgive me when I believe their opinion over a reputed “expert” like Neil Warnock. The club’s head of medical services, Wayne Diesel, commented afterwards: “Once the relevant tests and assessments were carried out, we were totally satisfied that he was fit to continue playing”.
Another fact is Hugo wished to remain on the pitch himself, most players would have chosen to come off but the big Frenchman felt well enough to continue, he also made an excellent stop in the dying minutes to ensure the points were shared. Would a concussed player be able to have made such a good reaction save so late on in the game? I doubt it.
In situations like this the manager can only assess the issue with the information he’s given at the time and the decision must also be made in a matter of minutes. Initially, AVB had readied Brad Friedel to enter the fray, obviously thinking a change would have to be made to ensure his player’s wellbeing. The situation changed when he was informed that Lloris wanted to play on and the advice from the medical personnel was that he was well enough to stay on the field. I firmly believe that if the word being relayed back to the dugout were any different the keeper would have been hauled off immediately. It also must be noted Lloris went for a precautionary CT scan after the game and was given the all clear; I’m not sure what more proof the critics require?
It’s pleasing to note that AVB has taken all this criticism on the chin, resolutely defending the club’s medical staff and questioning the knowledge of the so called “experts” wading in on the controversy. He has also stressed that the final decision rested with him and as such, criticism should be directed at him not his staff. I have always got the impression that Villas Boas has an excellent working relationship with his players and has their always has their best interests at heart, Sunday’s incident has done nothing to change my mind in that regard. COYS.
For those who haven’t seen it. Here’s AVB giving his opinion on the whole saga at the press conference…
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