Every so often, one Premier League manager finds the perfect retort to silence the musings of his counterpart. On Thursday Roberto Martinez did just that.
Andre Villas-Boas stated on Wednesday—per Laura Williamson of the Daily Mail—he was disappointed Romelu Lukaku had not contacted Hugo Lloris since their accidental collision during Tottenham’s 0-0 draw at Everton.
Martinez was asked for a response 24 hours later, and according to Sky Sports, he highlighted an elbow from a certain Spurs player as a tit-for-tat reply:
Obviously we are waiting for Roberto Soldado to apologise to Phil Jagielka, and so we can use the same phone call so we don't have to spend on two phone calls.
Villas-Boas suggested Lukaku had been at fault for Lloris’ controversial head injury, which saw Spurs come under fire for keeping the player on the pitch despite a clear concussion, per Massimo Marioni of Metro.
The Tottenham boss was quoted saying by Williamson’s article:
I want to believe that Lukaku’s leg was not left late to clash into Hugo’s head. I find it remarkable that nobody has actually found out if he could have avoided the goalkeeper and I am disappointed that Lukaku hasn’t contacted Hugo.
I don’t question Lukaku’s integrity, but I think he could have jumped over perfectly.
Martinez leapt to the defence of Lukaku, who was booked and injured in the incident, insisting via Sky Sports that one only has to watch the challenge to know the Belgian isn’t guilty:
The good thing is you can watch the replay and see the video evidence. All Romelu is doing is carrying on his run, he cannot disappear. It is unfortunate.
Martinez’s view is accurate. Lukaku had to chase the loose ball at Goodison Park and was well within his right to continue his running line as Lloris rushed from his line. Both players showed remarkable bravery in the collision, and neither deserves blame.
Soldado, by contrast, appeared to throw an elbow into the chest of Jagielka and was fortunate not to receive a red card from the match official.
Villas-Boas is likely using Lukaku to direct attention away from his club. The sheer confusion that surrounded Lloris during the match indicated a lack of communication between medical staff and the team’s management.
When it comes to something as serious as a concussion, medics should be clear and forthright in their ruling that the player can either play or exit the field. That did not happen on Merseyside, but the last man to blame for the confusion is Lukaku.
Instead, it would be healthier for the game for Villas-Boas to condemn his own player, Soldado, for his dangerous conduct in the direction of Jagielka.