Marseille midfielder Joey Barton has apologised to his team-mates for his red card in last night's 1-0 Ligue 1 loss at home to lowly Nancy, and admitted he was “partly responsible” for the shock result.
The 30-year-old was shown two yellow cards in the space of five second-half minutes to leave OM facing an uphill struggle at the Stade Velodrome.
And an own goal from Andre Ayew capped off a miserable evening for the title hopefuls, who remain six points behind leaders Paris St Germain.
Barton, who is on loan from QPR, said on http://www.om.net: "I am very disappointed. I am partly responsible for this loss.
"I have to apologise to my team-mates. The referee made his decisions, but I don't think either of my tackles were too dangerous."
The result marked only the third win of the season for Nancy, lifting them off the foot of the standings and within four points of safety.
OM coach Elie Baup acknowledged Barton's dismissal had been the turning point.
"We have just taken a big slap," he said. "We decided to play with a defensive system and it had been working.
"The game turned with the expulsion of Barton. We had not been brilliant in the game, but there was no real danger (before the red card). Being down to 10 men made things more difficult."
Baup felt the former Manchester City and Newcastle player had been unlucky to see red, however.
"His first card was unjustified since there was no foul, and on the second he was committed to trying to get the ball," Baup added.
"We waited a long time and wondered when Barton would be sent off for the first time, and that was done tonight. But he did not deserve to be sent off."