Soccer-Spurs' Mourinho 'very sorry' for referee Dean after death threats

·2-min read
Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho on Tuesday sympathised with referee Mike Dean after he and his family received death threats in backlash to controversial red card decisions.

Dean was criticised after he sent off Southampton defender Jan Bednarek during their 9-0 defeat at Manchester United last Tuesday and West Ham United midfielder Tomas Soucek during Saturday's 0-0 draw away to Fulham.

He will not officiate Premier League games this weekend.

A number of players including Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Axel Tuanzebe, and Chelsea's Reece James have also been subjected to online abuse in recent weeks.

Mourinho said he had reached out to defender Ryan Sessegnon, who is on loan at German side Hoffenheim, after he had been targetted on social media in November.

"We speak with the players if the situation arises," Mourinho told reporters ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round tie at Everton. "The last time I had a talk was with Sessegnon, he is in Germany but he is our player, a kid we have to protect.

"Of course I feel very sorry for Mike Dean, for Tuanzebe, and with every Mike Dean and every Tuanzebe of this world. This week was them, the week before was others. If the situations goes in the same direction, next week will be to others.

"I think something has to be done...what we do in our professional lives, the success we have, the mistakes we make is one thing. Another thing is to go to the private life and social life. Then, of course, something has to be done."

Mourinho said defender Serge Aurier is unlikely to be fit for the trip to Goodison Park but Harry Kane had shown no ill effects after returning from injury in Sunday's 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)