This is classic Mike Dean.
In one of the biggest games of the season so far he couldn’t wait to get into the action.
Like the old football cliche goes, he let Juan Mata ‘know he was there’ early.
Mata was handed a start in a crucial game to extend Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Old Trafford and as a former Chelsea player he might have expected a couple of big challenges early on.
Then again he is the nicest man in football so there wouldn’t be much hate for him at Stamford Bridge.
And he certainly wouldn’t have expected his first contact to be a sneaky one from the referee.
Mata was running to latch on to a loose ball in midfield.
The next thing he knew he was heading face first into the rock solid back of Dean.
The maverick referee stepped backward to block off the Spaniard’s run and barely even flinched as Mata hit him at full pace.
After the collision a Mateo Kovacic collected the ball and Mata was left fuming that he’d been tackled by the ref.
But Dean was having none of it.
Mata turns around to give him the evils, only for Dean to shrug his shoulders in a ‘I’m the ref don’t get in my way’ sort of motion.
It was pure sass from one of the Premier League’s most iconic referees.
Another one to add to the list of why Dean should be in charge of all the biggest games of the season.
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