Middlesbrough's captain Paul Ince only had himself to blame for his red card in Monday's derby with Sunderland, according to one of his own team-mates.
Manager Steve McClaren hinted immediately after the game that the club might appeal against referee Mark Halsey's decision to dismiss Ince for his spat with Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn 19 minutes from time.
But goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer admitted that Ince had left the official with little option after allowing his temper to boil over.
"All I saw was Incey lash out at him and to his credit, the referee was well within his rights to send him off really," the Australian said.
It was a rare black spot for Boro on a night when everything seemed to go right for McClaren.
His decision to throw Argentinian youngster Carlos Marinelli in at the deep end paid off, and new boys Szilard Nemeth and Franck Queudrue were in impressive form.
Indeed the Frenchman, on loan from Lens, gave his side a dream start with a second-minute goal, and when Jody Craddock deflected an Alen Boksic header over his own keeper, the Teessiders were on their way to just their second home Premiership win of the season.
Middlesbrough won on their own pitch only four times throughout last season and Schwarzer is well aware that they cannot rely on their away form again this season.
"We haven't done well at home at all," he said. "It's been a real nightmare for us. It's something that we need to change around very quickly and hopefully, we've now started that."
But while Middlesbrough were left to build on their first win in five games with a trip to Tottenham on Saturday, Sunderland started their preparations for the visit of Arsenal to the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats have now won one of their last seven games, dropping to 12th in the Premiership, and at the Riverside were a poor imitation of the side which has promised to qualify for Europe in the last two seasons.
Manager Peter Reid is attempting to strengthen his squad – he has bid £7m for West Ham's Trevor Sinclair – and last night, gave a debut to his latest signing Jason McAteer. The former Blackburn midfielder turned in a creditable display in a lacklustre team performance, but he will be looking to produce more in his bid to secure a place in Mick McCarthy's Republic of Ireland squad for next month's World Cup play-off against Iran or the United Arab Emirites.
McAteer went to the 1994 finals in the United States as a relative youngster, and admits he would love a second chance eight years on. "I was a young lad in the squad then and it was absolutely fantastic, and you sort of get carried away with it," he said.
"It was a great time, but I didn't think we'd get that kind of squad together again.
"Mick McCarthy has done an absolutely fantastic job. He's kept the same squad for five or six years since Jack Charlton left, and they all deserve to go.
"I seem to be one of the older ones in the squad, but I'm enjoying it. I'd like to go back to the World Cup, not so much as a veteran but as a senior professional. I was too young to really appreciate it in 1994.
"We'll go to the play-off games and I want to be playing in those matches, and I obviously want to be playing football at Sunderland.
"It's a massive club, it's got a massive fan base and it's a great stage to play on. There's no better place for me to make a challenge for my national position."Reuse content