In a stunning admission, former Premier League referee Mike Dean has openly admitted to not recommending that Anthony Taylor review an incident on the pitch-side monitor in a match between Tottenham and Chelsea last season because he didn't want to make an already "tough" game more difficult for his "mate".

In a confession that is worrying in terms of the lack of consistency in the application of the rules by Video Assistant Referees, Dean said that he didn't correct an error by Taylor in not censuring Romero for pulling Marc Cucarella's hair in the game, a decision he now regards as "pathetic".

“I missed the stupid hair pull at Chelsea versus Tottenham which was pathetic from my point of view," he told Simon Jordan on the Up Front podcast.

“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.”