Ex-Premier League ref: Mike Dean took 'huge risk' in Aston Villa clash v Watford
Mike Dean took a “huge risk” with his decision to play advantage before Watford’s third goal against Aston Villa on Saturday.
So says ex-Premier League referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Watford’s 3-2 win at Vicarage Road.
Watford’s Juraj Kucka was racing through the midfield with the score at 2-0 before he was felled by Marvelous Nakamba.
But Dean played advantage as Cucho Hernandez took the ball in his stride, jagged inside the full-back and curled a right-footed shot into the Villa net.
Hackett was just as impressed by the referee’s decision to play advantage as he was by Hernandez’ laser-guided strike.
“I can tell you, it was brilliant,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.
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“Mike Dean is a top-class referee. I put him in the top four of referees in England.
“He takes some criticism because he has a bit of a personality. But he understands the game, understands players.
“His heart is in the right place and he reads the game a well as a player because of his experience.
“He’s unselfish because when you play an advantage, you’re taking a huge risk. This was the play of the weekend, in my view.
“It was a brilliant decision. He’s one of the best referees that we have got in terms of the application of the advantage.
“He can take a huge gamble with them sometimes. But you do have to take these risks sometimes and he is one of the best at it.”