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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League


Roberto Martinez believes there has been no blame attributed to Romelu Lukaku for the head injury Hugo Lloris suffered in the draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning, the Blues boss was asked for his reaction to quotes from Andre Villas-Boas suggesting Lukaku ‘could have jumped over’ Lloris when the pair collided during the second half of Sunday’s goalless draw at Goodison.

The manager was keen to make it clear he didn’t believe the Spurs boss had blamed the Blues’ striker in any way for the incident which resulted in Lloris being knocked unconscious for a short time, explaining: “The good thing is that you can watch the replay and see the video evidence.

“All Romelu is doing is carrying on his run – he cannot disappear. He is unfortunate and I don’t think Andre Villas-Boas mentioned any intent or any wrong-doing from Romelu.

“I think he only mentioned that he expected a bit of an apology.”

With a wry smile, the manager added in a joking fashion: “Obviously we are waiting for Roberto Soldado to apologise to Phil Jagielka, so we will use the same phone call and we don’t have to pay for two phone calls.”

Lloris Lukaku

Despite being knocked unconscious in the incident, Lloris insisted on playing on after receiving treatment from the Spurs medical staff on the pitch. Villas-Boas has since been criticised in areas of the media for not substituting his goalkeeper.

Martinez has called for the introduction of a new rule that would see players who have suffered from concussion during a football match mandatorily being withdrawn from the field of play.

“My view is that it should not be a manager’s decision if you are taking a player off or not [due to concussion],” added the Blues chief. "If it is a strong view from the medical authorities that if a player gets concussed he should come off, I think we should look into it and make it a rule.

“It should be part of the game and be a law. 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.

“I think if it comes as a rule there is understanding for everyone that if it happens the player should come off and it wouldn’t count as a substitute, it would be a lot easier.

“I think if you are put in a position where a player has to come off and the three substitutions have been made it would be a shame and affect the competition. You wouldn’t like to see a team down to ten men but the last thing you want is to put the health at risk of any player.

“So I think it is a serious, serious issue that needs to be spoken about and find the right decision from the top. The authorities should find a rule that goes into the game.”

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