Experienced Premier League referee Mike Dean was part of the officials billed to take charge of Chelsea’s game against Tottenham on Wednesday night. However, Dean won’t take part in the game anymore.
Dean was scheduled to be the fourth official for the derby clash, but the FA has decided to take off Dean from this fixture after a bust-up between him and Pochettino at the weekend.
Pochettino was furious with Dean’s decisions during Spurs’ 2-1 defeat to Burnley and approached him after the game as he poured out his frustration on the referee.
Following the incident, the Spurs boss has been charged with two counts of improper conduct by the FA and Pochettino has admitted he feels sorry the incident has led to Dean being pulled from Wednesday’s match.
“Yes I will accept that charge,” Pochettino said. “Watching after on video from TV my behaviour, I think I need to accept the charge from the FA.
“In the same time I need to apologise to Mike Dean. It is not the way to behave and I am going to accept the charge.
“Now in public it is important, as my behaviour was in public and now I want to apologise in a public way too.
“I feel sorry for that [Dean being dropped for the Chelsea match] because I wanted to see him and apologise in person.
“In my mind I still believe I’m right but in the way that I behaved, it’s not right. That is the point.
“Of course I wanted to apologise because I think you can wait half an hour and then talk with him, and for sure both should behave differently.”
For Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, the game against Spurs is a must win so as to keep up in the race for top four.
Sarri led Chelsea to an 18-game unbeaten run before the Blues lost to Tottenham in November. Chelsea have struggled for consistency since the loss to Spurs, with the Blues dropping out of the top four, and Sarri is asking for more from his players to get back Chelsea’s original swagger.
Asked what has changed since the loss to Tottenham, Sarri said: “At the beginning we had more enthusiasm so we were able to remedy some mistakes.
“Then we played without enthusiasm for a period. Probably we were mentally tired. Of course in the defensive movement we are better now – if we don’t stop defending.
“After the first goal in Manchester [versus City] we stopped defending. Now we are improving, especially in the defensive phase in the last two matches.
“If we are able to have great solidity in the defensive phase we will be able to find consistency.”