Pochettino’s heated confrontation with Mike Dean after ‘crossing the line’

Pochettino’s 2019 visit to Burnley did not go well, with the then Tottenham boss handed a heavy punishment after confronting referee Dean for some of the decisions he made at Turf Moor

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Mauricio Pochettino discusses Manchester United job

Tottenham’s visit to Burnley on Sunday will draw memories of past trips to Lancashire for the London club, with Turf Moor usually a happy hunting ground for them.

Spurs have only lost one of their last eight games at Burnley, but that defeat provoked a furious confrontation between Mauricio Pochettino and referee Mike Dean.

The game was Pochettino’s last game against Sean Dyche’s side before he was sacked by Tottenham nine months later.

The Argentine will not have fond memories of that visit, with the clash with Dean seeing him slapped with a two-match touchline ban and fined £10,000 by the Football Association.

Here, Mirror Football looks back at that day when Pochettino himself admitted he crossed a line…

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The background

Mauricio Pochettino was trying to guide Tottenham to a Premier League title challenge

Pochettino had once again guided Tottenham to a Premier League title challenge, with Spurs battling with Manchester City and Liverpool.

If they had beaten the Clarets, Spurs would have closed the gap on their title rivals to just two points.

Spurs received a boost heading into the game, with Harry Kane return to training following an injury that had ruled him out for more than a month.

But they were facing a Burnley team who were on a seven-match unbeaten run – their best ever string of games in the Premier League.

A rare Burnley win

Chris Wood helped Burnley to secure a rare win over Tottenham

It was a gripping encounter at Turf Moor, though it was a lacklustre start from the visitors, before Kane drifted past three defenders and drilled a shot wide from the edge of the area.

But the famous Burnley tactics soon came to the fore, with Ashley Barnes tearing Juan Foyth’s shirt and Danny Rose left crumpled on the floor by a robust Jeff Hendrick tackle.

The two sides traded chances in the remainder of the first-half, before Tom Heaton pulled off a magnificent save to tip Kane’s fierce shot around the post.

That save was critical, with Burnley going in front seven minutes later thanks to a goal that left Pochettino incensed.

Dean awarded a corner when he judged Hendrick’s cross had touched Jan Vertonghen before going out of play, which Spurs disagreed with.

They appeared to lose their focus for the set-piece and Chris Wood duly rose highest to head Dwight McNeil’s corner in off the bar.

Kane soon got his side back on level terms when Rose set Kane racing through from a throw-in, with the England captain staying calm to fire past Heaton.

Spurs failed to capitalise on that swing in momentum though, with Burnley instead the team to score the winner.

That winner came seven minutes from time when sub Johann Berg Gudmundsson found space down the left and crossed low for Barnes to tap in.

Pochettino explodes

Pochettino confronted Mike Dean following the defeat


Sky Sports)

It was a result that was a serious blow to Tottenham’s title hopes and Pochettino was unable to hide his frustration.

The Spurs boss rushed over to Dean before berating the referee, squaring up to him despite several players and staff attempting to pull him away.

He continued to shout in Dean’s ear and display his full anger to the match official, with the referee refusing to back down himself.

Burnley defender Phil Bardsley eventually managed to drag Pochettino away, with Dean’s report of the incident making it clear just how angry the Spurs boss was.

Pochettino refused to back down from the confrontation


Sky Sports)

“Mr Pochettino acted in a very irresponsible and aggresive (sic) manner. He wouldn’t stop saying ‘you know what you are, you know what you are’,” Dean wrote.

“I then said on numerous occasions to go away, at least 10 times, and he wouldn’t get out of my personnel (sic) space and then aggresively (sic) pointed his finger just a few inches from my face again saying ‘you know what you are’.

“Mr Pochettino then left me alone and left the field of play.

“When I reached the tunnel he was waiting at the top of the stairs again saying ‘you know what you are’ and had to be escorted to the dressing room by security staff from Burnley.”

Spurs boss backs down

Pochettino apologised after the game for his actions


BBC Sport)

Pochettino attempted to row back on the confrontation in his post-match interviews, pinning the blame on himself and his team for the defeat, rather than Dean.

“We made some mistakes, we paid for that. But we knew when we prepared for the game about how Burnley play and that it was going to be difficult,” he told Match of the Day.

“But I think we didn’t deserve the defeat but it wasn’t enough for a team that wants to win a title, to fight for a title, we need to show more and that is why we feel disappointed.

“Now that we are all relaxed it’s difficult to explain, but I think what happened on the pitch, happened on the pitch.

“I am not a person who likes to complain too much because I knew before this game that it was going to be decisive.

“At the end, all the emotion and disappointment, I think I crossed the line. But now is the moment to be relaxed. In the end we need to blame ourselves.”


The FA gave Pochettino a touchline ban and a heavy fine

Pochettino’s attempt to row back and apologise for his actions did nothing to quell the FA, who slapped the Spurs boss with a heavy punishment.

He was handed a two-match touchline ban and a £10,000 fine, punishment that the Spurs boss insisted was unfair.

“I am in shock. I still think it’s unfair. I can do nothing. But what can I do now? Nothing,” he said.

“We still don’t know the reasons because the letter (with the explanation for the ban) still hasn’t arrived. I know very well that it wasn’t the idea to appeal, because in my mind it wasn’t a big deal.

“Of course, it wasn’t the best way to complain or talk with the referee, but I never expected this type of situation, that for me is not fair. I need to see the reasons why, and then we’ll see what happens.”

The defeat proved crucial, with Tottenham’s title challenge falling apart soon after, with Pochettino’s side ending the season fourth, 27 points behind champions City.

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