Thomas Tuchel bites back at Mike Dean after statement following Marc Cucurella hair-pull


Thomas Tuchel has given a blunt response to Mike Dean’s unprecedented written version of events in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Spurs at the weekend. In the match Dean, who was the VAR assistant to Anthony Taylor as referee at Stamford Bridge, made two controversial calls which Tuchel felt went against his team, only to reveal days later that he should have made a different call.

Dean, who came in for criticism alongside Taylor for their decisions in a potential offside goal and for not punishing Cristian Romero’s hair-pull on Marc Cucurella, was publicly shamed by Tuchel after the match, with the Chelsea boss saying,

“I can’t understand how the first goal is not offside and I can’t understand when a player is pulled by their hair.”

The retired referee, who ironically officiated his last game in Chelsea’s win against Watford on the final day of last season, gave his reasoning in a column for the Daily Mail, saying,

“I can’t go back 44 seconds to look at Rodrigo Bentancur’s potential foul,” and, “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.”

The most controversial decision was when VAR looked at Romero’s infringement of Cucurella but proceeded to allow Spurs to take the corner which led to Harry Kane’s headed equaliser. Dean did regret his decision not to send Taylor to the monitor, saying,

“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.”

For Tuchel though, this doesn’t reward his side who were left with one point from a match they deserved all three in. And the German didn’t have any sympathy for Dean, instead criticising his statement:

“I struggle a little bit to be fully impressed by the statement I have to say,” Tuchel admitted. “It’s so clear and obvious, I cannot understand how a referee cannot make the decision that was the right decision.” “I mean, in the decision and it’s maybe not the referee [Taylor] to blame in this decision. He was not called to the monitor, so we have to by all the passion and emotions and by all the consequences it had for us, need to admit that it was not the referee to take this decision.

“It was the VAR [Dean] who got it totally wrong in this case. Apologising or admitting, at least, I think it could be more transparent to make it easier. Maybe they could explain the decisions on the field to everybody why they take this decision.

“Maybe, to make it more transparent and clear what’s going on. Why a goal is not allowed, why it’s disallowed, why he is overruling his own decision. It is not the end of the process yet, it’s still necessary to have regular goals and irregular decisions overruled. There’s obviously still work to do.”

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