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Pochettino insists Tottenham h...
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Pochettino insists Tottenham handled Vertonghen correctly

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

17:26 2 May 2019

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that Jan Vertonghen's insistence in wanting to change his shorts in the tunnel last Tuesday goes some way to demonstrate that his head injury was not serious.

The Belgium international, 32, was seen by a neurologist in sport-related concussion on Thursday, who revealed that he did not suffer a concussion, but did recommend that the player undertake a "brief period of rehabilitation".

The Tottenham centre-half was left bloodied following a nasty collision with team-mate Toby Alderweireld during the Champions League defeat to Ajax and the club came in for some criticism for allowing Vertonghen to continue playing.

Pochettino responded to questions around the issue on Thursday: "We followed the protocol. I think you can watch on TV, what happened, that our medical staff behaved very well. They were excellent and followed the protocol.

"He was conscious. I think you can watch, when he changed his shorts, that was in the tunnel because he was a little bit worried about not changing shorts in front of everyone.

"That behaviour made clear that he was conscious in every single moment. That is why, when the doctor and the medical staff followed the protocol, they allowed him to go into the pitch."

Pochettino open to 'independent' assessment

The club insisted that the defender passed all concussion tests on the night and was fine before he returned to the field of play but within a matter of seconds he was on the ground again before being helped down the tunnel.

It was put to Pochettino that authorities should consider introducing an independent doctor to assess situations like these in the future.

"Always in that situation, in that area, I am open, more than open, to improve always the decisions," replied Pochettino.

"I think the most important thing for us always is going to be, the health of the player. It's not important, the game. It's not important, the result. It's not important, a semi-final of the Champions League.

"The most important [thing] is the health of the player. That is our priority, always. I don't know if we need to change the rules, if we need another doctor."

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