Former Premier League referee Mike Dean failed to intervene on a major Var call because he didn’t want to cause his friend Anthony Taylor any ‘grief’, he has revealed.

In a remarkably candid admission, Dean said he made the “pathetic” call at the climax of the 2-2 draw between Tottenham and Chelsea last August.

Cristian Romero pulled Marc Cucurella’s hair seconds before Harry Kane’s 96th minute equaliser, and Dean acknowledged that in the heat of the moment he made a bad choice not to suggest on-field official Taylor consider a sending off offence.

“I missed the stupid hair pull at Chelsea versus Tottenham which was pathetic from my point of view,” Dean told Up Front with Simon Jordan.

“It’s one of them where if I had my time again, what would I do? I’d send Anthony [Taylor] to the screen. I think I knew if I did send him to the screen … he’s cautioned both managers, he’s had a hell of a game, it’s been such a tough game end to end.

“I said to Anthony afterwards: ‘I just didn’t want to send you to the screen after what has gone on in the game’. I didn’t want to send him up because he is a mate as well as a referee and I think I didn’t want to send him up because I didn’t want any more grief than he already had.

“Anthony, he is big and bald and ugly enough to know if he is going to the screen he is going to the screen for a reason. If someone pulls their hair now it’s dead easy. It’s just a brainwave by me, a really bad call by me, and it kind of affected me as Var going forward.”

Dean’s remarks underline the human frailties which have often undermined the new technology. He was subsequently stood down from the next Premier League games and later decided he did not wish to continue as a video assistant referee.

“Probably I missed a few games because you get taken out of the limelight,” he added.

“That was a major error. If they don’t score from the corner it is not as big an issue. But I knew full well then I would be stood down the week after. I asked to take a bit of time off because it wasn’t for me.

“I used to get in the car on a Friday and was dreading Saturday. I was thinking, ‘I hope nothing happens’. I used to be petrified sitting in the chair.”