Tottenham Hotspur head coach Jose Mourinho has expressed his sympathy for referee Mike Dean after receiving death threats and said he spoke with on-loan defender Ryan Sessegnon following his own experience of online abuse.
Dean will not take charge of a Premier League game this weekend after his request for time off was granted following revelations the 52-year and his family had been targeted on social media.
He came under fire after two separate red card incidents, dismissing West Ham United midfielder Tomas Soucek for elbowing Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic four days after sending off Jan Bednarek for a tackle on Anthony Martial in Southampton’s 9-0 defeat at Manchester United.
Dean reviewed each decision on a pitchside monitor during a VAR review but both were later overturned on appeal by the respective clubs. Dean is the latest individual to suffer online abuse this season including United duo Marcus Rashford and Axel Tuenzebe and Mourinho said he reached out to Sessegnon when he received abusive Instagram messages just a month after joining Hoffenheim in November.
“We speak with the players if the situation arises,” he said. “To be honest, the last one I had a little talk about it was with Ryan Sessegnon.
“He is in Germany, he is not even here, but he is our player and he is a kid that we have to try to protect. And of course I feel very sorry for Mike Dean. I feel very sorry with Tuanzebe, and with every Mike Dean and every Tuanzebe of this world.