Ernesto Valverde admitted Gustavo Cabral’s three minutes of madness helped Athletic Bilbao in their 2-1 win against Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Fabian Orellana gave Celta an early lead at San Mames, but Aritz Aduriz equalised from the penalty spot on 38 minutes after Cabral tugged on his shirt in the box, before the defender was sent off two minutes later for charging into the striker on the edge of the area and appearing to kick him while he was down.
“[Cabral’s actions] marked the match positively for us,” the Coach said after the game.
“To think it’d be easy wasn’t in our plans. They started well while we made mistakes, and they scored against us.
“It’s true that they dominated us and were on top because they had the conditions to be so.
“The red card came from nonsense between two players. If a player prevents [engaging in] this nonsense then nothing happens.
“In hotly-contested games like these, the players must be strong, but they also need to keep their cool.
“I don’t know if [Cabral] was [worthy of a red], but [his actions] was certainly preventable. I like how my players avoided these things.
“Our objective now is to ensure fifth place so this season can be considered a success.”