London - Mauricio Pochettino said he was open to a change in football's
concussion protocols as Tottenham Hotspur wait for an update on the
health of defender Jan Vertonghen, who suffered a head injury against
Vertonghen saw a neurologist on Thursday after a clash of heads with
team-mate Toby Alderweireld during Tottenham's Champions League defeat
by Ajax this week.
The 32-year-old Belgium international had to be helped from the pitch
during Tuesday's 1-0 semi-final, first-leg defeat after initially being
allowed to play on following lengthy treatment.
Tottenham issued a statement on their website on Wednesday saying
Vertonghen had undergone further assessment and tests had been clear.
But the north London club's handling of the injury has been
criticised and Spurs boss Pochettino said he was prepared to accept
changes in protocols for head injuries.
"Today was his appointment with the specialist and we still haven't
seen the report," he told reporters at his pre-match press conference on
Thursday before Saturday's trip to Bournemouth.
"After the game was good, he was more relaxed and felt better. Now we need to see the report from the specialist.
"We don't know (if he can face Bournemouth), we need to wait. That is
going to be a decision from the medical staff. We cannot guess now. We
hope it is not a big issue and he is available soon."
The Argentinian added: "Always in that situation I am open, more than
open, to improve the decisions. I think the most important thing was
going to be the health of the player.
"It is not important, the game, the semi-final of the Champions
League, the score, the priority is the player. I don't know if we need
to change the rules, if we need another doctor."
Brain injury charity Headway called for football's authorities to
introduce "temporary concussion substitutions" to allow medical staff to
make proper assessments of injured players.
Tottenham's participation in next season's Champions League will be
guaranteed if they beat Bournemouth in their penultimate Premier League
game of the season.
Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have all dropped points
in recent weeks and all four remain in contention to finish in the top
four behind Manchester City and Liverpool.
Pochettino accepted Tottenham are not enjoying the best of
"circumstances" relating to injuries and a packed fixture schedule but
has called for one last push from his side.
"The problem now is it's a decisive period for us," he said. "It's a
key moment. Playing the second leg of the semi-final (against Ajax) and
playing Saturday against Bournemouth.
"Now it's not to talk too much, to focus on our job and deliver. Finishing in the top four is our priority too."