Results must never come at expense of players' health

Results must never come at expense of players' health
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lying injured after a collision with Everton's Romalu Lukaku during their match. Coach Andres Villas-Boas has been roundly slammed for allowing the Frenchman to play on after treatment.

TOTTENHAM Hotspur's manager Andres Villas-Boas made a terrible decision. He put Hugo Lloris' sanity, maybe even his life, at risk when he allowed his goalkeeper back onto the pitch at Everton.

The Portuguese told the BBC minutes after the final whistle that he knew that his custodian had been knocked unconscious when his head collided with the knee of Romelu Lukaku.

"Hugo doesn't remember it," Villas-Boas said, "so he lost consciousness."

After a long delay, the goalkeeper was roused, but the Spurs doctor and physiotherapist, together with the team captain Michael Dawson, all demonstrably tried to convince him that he should accept being substituted.

The experienced American 'keeper Brad Friedel was gloved up and ready for action. But Lloris pleaded to go back on, and Villas-Boas let him.

Worse, or certainly as poor in perception, the coach was still digging himself deeper into the mire of controversy four days later.

"The call belongs to me," Villas-Boas had said on Sunday when asked who decided the groggy goalie should play on.

"The person Hugo is," the Portuguese insisted, "he seemed assertive and determined to continue, and showed great character and personality."

The contradiction was alarming.

If Lloris was incapable of remembering the impact, how could he have been in fit mind to show great character and personality?

He was being macho. But the line between a hardy player and a foolhardy one is sometimes too blurred to sense, let alone to trust.

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