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English Premiership

Laudrup rebukes officials after Michu scare

LONDON, England December 17 – Swansea City coach Michael Laudrup criticised the match officials after they allowed play to continue despite a head injury to Swans forward Michu during the Welsh club’s 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur.

Michu was left flat on his back after colliding with Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in injury time at White Hart Lane on Sunday, but referee Mike Dean allowed play to continue.

Tottenham broke downfield, almost adding a second goal to Jan Vertonghen’s 75th-minute strike, and there were angry confrontations between the two dug-outs when play finally came to a halt.

Laudrup accepted that Lloris’ challenge had been fair, but he said he had been worried by the way Michu fell to the ground.

“Fortunately he is OK,” said the Dane.

“When I saw it, I thought, ‘Oh hell, he is unconscious, you can’t fake a reaction like that’ — it isn’t like when someone kicks you, this is completely different.”

Laudrup felt that play should have been stopped to allow his top scorer to receive medical treatment.

“I was very angry and it wasn’t because I wanted a free-kick or a red card for Lloris, or a penalty, or whatever, but there is a debate — should we kick the ball out?” he said.

“It is the same debate in every country — we have a referee and two linesmen so we just go on until the referee blows the whistle.

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“But with possible head injuries, like this one, there is no doubt — you have all the linesmen and the referee and they are connected.

“I watched it afterwards on the television and when it happened, when Michu is going down to the ground the referee is watching them, the linesman is watching them, and still they let the game go on.

“It is such a poor decision, and dangerous as well.”

Spurs coach Andre Villas-Boas said he sympathised with Laudrup’s concerns.

“On the incident, I was expecting the referee to stop the game immediately,” he said.

“It is a difficult decision for Mike because (Andros) Townsend is running through on goal, but the health of a player is more important.

“We were trying for the game to stop immediately and I think all of the mess came as a consequence of that.

“On that split-second he has to make a decision, but to be fair, we jumped from the bench straight away to try and stop the game.”

Spurs’ victory took them back into the top four and Villas-Boas said he was pleased by the way his players closed the game out after they had conceded two late goals in a 2-1 loss at Everton the previous weekend.

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“I think if there was one team to win this game, it was us,” he said.

“We were very patient and persistent in what we were doing and kept moving the ball well. We held on to the win.

“Obviously in this season we will continue to suffer goals in the last minute because football is unpredictable, but I think today (Sunday) the players showed the desire and ambition to put the wrong right and we managed to hang on to the result.”

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