TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas felt he was justified in allowing goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to continue after suffering a head injury in his side’s goalless draw at Everton.
Lloris required lengthy treatment after colliding with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku during the second half of the Barclays Premier League clash at Goodison Park.
Substitute Brad Friedel looked ready to come on as Lloris was eventually led off the field, but the Frenchman appeared to argue for the right to play on.
After further debate, Villas-Boas elected not to make a change and Lloris vindicated his decision by making a good late save from Gerard Deulofeu.
Villas-Boas said: “Hugo still doesn’t recall everything about the incident. It was a very difficult moment for us and I am happy he is well. I made the call to keep him on the pitch because of the signs he was giving.
“He was determined to continue and looked concentrated, driven and focused enough for me not to make the call to replace him. The saves he did after the incident proved that right.”
Lloris, 26, bravely dived at the feet of Lukaku as he chased a long ball from Gareth Barry. His head banged into the leg of Lukaku in what appeared an accidental collision and his subsequent treatment was the chief reason for the game’s nine minutes of injury time.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez was relieved Lloris did not appear seriously injured, but was irritated that referee Kevin Friend booked Lukaku for his involvement.
Martinez said: “We were glad to see Hugo Lloris back on his feet. It was a strong incident, nothing malicious, two brave players fighting for the ball.
“Romelu did nothing wrong and he picked up a strong knock on his thigh and he had to come off as a consequence. I was really disappointed to see Romelu punished with a yellow card in what was an honest challenge, with both players trying to get the ball.”
The two sides were both trying to move up to second in the table and the draw meant they both missed out on the chance. Spurs failed to make the most of considerable possession and a number of chances in the first half, while Everton dominated after the break.
Both sides thought they had strong penalty claims after Jan Vertonghen and Seamus Coleman tangled with each other on separate occasions in each half, but nothing was given.
Home goalkeeper Tim Howard and opposite number Lloris both had busy afternoons, but held firm.
Both managers fielded familiar line-ups. Spurs reverted to the starting XI which beat Hull last weekend, meaning Erik Lamela was back on the bench, while Everton replaced Ross Barkley with Leon Osman in their only alteration from their last league game.
Spurs controlled the game before the break as the hosts struggled to gain and then retain possession.
The Londoners, backed by a vociferous visiting support, had their first sight of goal in the opening minutes as Sandro forced a fine save from Howard.
Andros Townsend then tried his luck, but missed the target and Roberto Soldado spurned a gilt-edged chance as he glanced a header wide from an Aaron Lennon cross.
Townsend had another shot deflected over and Howard parried a well-struck free-kick from Kyle Walker as Spurs continued to press.
Vertonghen then went down in the area under a challenge from Coleman, but referee Friend did not even think about awarding a penalty.
Howard saved again from a Lewis Holtby shot, and almost half an hour had gone before Everton seriously threatened for the first time.
It was Osman who had the opportunity, finding space to shoot and then firing narrowly over Lloris’s bar.
Belgian striker Kevin Mirallas had a free-kick deflected behind for a corner as Everton began to find their feet in the game, but still it was Spurs who dominated possession.
Everton began the second period with renewed vigour and looked to use Lukaku’s pace and strength more through the middle. Lukaku launched one good counter-attack, feeding Belgium team-mate Mirallas to his left, but the impressive Vlad Chiriches slid in to deny a sight of goal.
Another good move created space for Steven Pienaar on the edge of the box, but Michael Dawson stood tall to block and was winded as he took the full force of the South African’s well-struck effort in the stomach.
Everton sent on Barkley for Osman to maintain their momentum and the youngster immediately got into the game as he flashed a drive over.
The Toffees then wanted a penalty when Coleman appeared to have the back of his legs clipped by Vertonghen. Coleman, to his credit, tried to play on and get a shot away, but was still furious that Friend did not blow his whistle.
Barkley was influential, suggesting Martinez’s decision to start him on the bench may have had the desired reinvigorating effect, and spread play wide for James McCarthy.
McCarthy whipped in a dangerous cross from the byline, but Lukaku only managed to glance the ball across the face of the goal.
After a quiet spell, Howard was called back into action to punch away a curling effort from Spurs substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Late on, Lloris seemed to show no ill-effects as he beat away a powerful strike from Deulofeu.
Chances continued as the game went into nine minutes of added time due to Lloris’s injury, and Phil Jagielka blocked bravely from Sigurdsson, who then screwed his effort wide.