Mike Dean breaks silence on Marc Cucurella Chelsea-Tottenham decision in unprecedented statement


Chelsea have been handed an explanation for the refereeing decisions that impacted Thomas Tuchel’s side in the fiery 2-2 draw against Tottenham on Sunday. Match official Anthony Taylor and VAR assistant Mike Dean have both come in for plenty of criticism after Tuchel said,

“I can’t understand how the first goal is not offside and I can’t understand when a player is pulled by their hair.” Tottenham’s first goal was marred by a foul on Kai Havertz which wasn’t spotted on-field by Taylor and then as Richarlison appeared to block Edouard Mendy’s vision of the ball in an offside position.

Spurs then equalised in the 96th minute, despite Marc Cucurella having his hair pulled at the previous corner, a decision which fits the violent conduct description, meaning Cristian Romero should have been sent off.

Tuchel has since been charged by the FA for conduct after the game in-which he and Antonio Conte were the centre of a large coming together between sets of players and staff after the German held onto Conte during the handshake. The Blues have now been handed an explanation for the decisions made during the game by Dean though. In an unprecedented statement in his Daily Mail column, he writes,

“I’ve now had time to reflect on Sunday’s clash at Stamford Bridge. I was VAR at Stockley Park and in the days after that 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham, we had meetings as part of our regular camps to discuss what happened in that and other matches.

Like how players analyse their performances, we speak about the incidents we were involved in.” He explained Richarlison’s goal, saying, “I can’t go back 44 seconds to look at Rodrigo Bentancur’s potential foul on Kai Havertz. It is outside the attacking phase of play – the Tottenham player got a toe to the ball anyway – so that wasn’t a factor in whether Hojbjerg’s goal should stand. The question was whether Richarlison was interfering from an offside position.

“When Hojbjerg’s shot was struck, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had a view of the ball for me. His line of vision wasn’t clearly blocked, so it was onside and 1-1.”

Although that still remains a debatable point, with the Brazilian seemingly also moving towards the ball after it was kicked, the hair pull was the biggest talking point and Dean revealed the conversation he had with Taylor, adding,

“I asked referee Anthony Taylor to wait while I looked at the incident involving Tottenham’s Cristian Romero and Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella. “I could not award a free-kick as VAR, but I could recommend to Taylor that he visit the referee review area to consider a possible red card. In the few seconds I had to study Romero pulling Cucurella’s hair, I didn’t deem it a violent act.

“I’ve since studied the footage, spoken to other referees and, upon reflection, I should have asked Taylor to visit his pitchside monitor to take a look for himself. The referee onside always has the final say.”

Dean’s comments are unprecedented and on occasions when mistakes have been made, admissions and explanations are few and far between. Although this will not reward Chelsea for the two points which Tuchel feels like his side lost, it is a welcome opening into hearing from matchday officials.

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