Former Premier League referee Mike Dean has admitted he got a vital decision wrong during last season’s London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham and knew he would be stood down

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Ex-Premier League referee Mike Dean has confessed he failed to correct an on-pitch error because he didn’t want to cause close friend Anthony Taylor “grief”.

Dean has admitted he made the “pathetic” call during Chelsea’s London derby against Tottenham at the start of last season. The game ended 2-2 following a late Spurs equaliser from Harry Kane, but just before the last-gasp goal, the Blues felt they should have had a penalty after Cristian Romero pulled Marc Cucurella’s hair inside the area.

Despite boasting the advantage of being able to review the decision again, the error was not rectified and Chelsea could consider themselves incredibly unfortunate to come away from the end-to-end affair with only a point.

“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.”

Though VAR was introduced with the aim of reducing controversial decisions, it has, if anything had the opposite effect. Following his error at Stamford Bridge in August of last year, Dean was stood down from the next round of Premier League games and later opted out of being a video assistant referee.

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Referee Anthony Taylor ws not told to go to the VAR monitor during Chelsea's clash with Tottenham last season Referee Anthony Taylor ws not told to go to the VAR monitor during Chelsea’s clash with Tottenham last season

Dean went on to concede that he was not cut out for life as a VAR official and would fear the games he was due to oversee the night before.

In the aftermath of the mistake in that particular London derby, the now retired referee admitted he instantly knew the repercussions he would face for failing to advise Taylor correctly.

Dean 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.”

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