Pochettino defends Tottenham medical staff over handling of Vertonghen head injury

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The defender suffered a head injury before leaving Tuesday's match, and his manager has backed the club's medical staff

Mauricio Pochettino said the medical staff are "the bosses" as he defended Tottenham's doctors in light of criticism following Jan Vertonghen's sickening head injury.

Vertonghen was left bloodied following an aerial clash with Tottenham team-mate Toby Alderweireld and Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana in Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg defeat.

The Spurs defender received lengthy treatment and he attempted to play on after being cleared to return, but he struggled to leave the pitch moments later amid distressing scenes of the Belgium international being on unsteady legs by the touchline.

Tuesday's incident raised further calls for an independent doctor to be introduced, with FIFPro and the World Players Association urging FIFA to implement a "concussion bin" after worrying scenes involving Fabian Schar, David Ospina and Anthony Lopes this season.

Pochettino was asked about Vertonghen and the concussion protocol – which allows for a three-minute assessment – and he told reporters: "I was not involved. It was the doctor's decision.

"It's so important that the rules and the protocols are there and our medical staff followed the protocols.

"The referee asked and the action we needed to take was to take him out because he did not feel well. Now he is OK, now he is good. He was walking away [from the stadium], he was more relaxed. You need to keep eyes watching him and monitor him because it was a big knock but at the moment he is OK.

"First of all, we must protect the player's integrity [health].

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"Our medical staff followed the protocol and they decided it was possible to restart the game and possible for Jan to play again. But, of course, Jan started to feel unwell and we needed to change him.

"Of course, I was worried. That is normal because for me the most important is the health of the player.

"If they say to me 'change', I am not going to doubt that. In that type of situation, the medical staff are the bosses. Never am I going to question them."

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