Burnley boss Owen Coyle has refused to condemn Steven Caldwell for his sending off at West Ham last Saturday.
The Scotland international was given his marching orders during the closing stages of the Upton Park contest for tugging Zavon Hines to the turf as he chased down a weak back-pass.
The Clarets went on to grab a late goal after being reduced to 10 men, but were unable to prevent the Hammers from running out convincing 5-3 victors.
While Caldwell's absence made little impression on the game in the capital, he will now be forced to sit out Burnley's crunch clash with Portsmouth this weekend.
That means Coyle will be forced to rearrange his back four for the first time in eight games, but the Scot is adamant that he would rather see his players fighting for every ball than allow opponents to get the better of them.
"The mistake Steven Caldwell made was being short in the pass back," said Coyle.
"There was very little in the incident and the lad maximised any contact there was - and he was well within his rights to do that.
"But as much as it was a bad pass back Brian (Jensen) had dealt with it. I can see why the referee did it but he could easily have not done.
"Stevie has stepped across the line of the ball and the boy maximised the opportunity and we've lost our captain.
"For me the only criticism would be, and Steven knows this himself, he should have done better with the pass back but he has been an outstanding captain for me and will continue to be.
"We are disappointed not to have him on Saturday but he will bounce back and will show what a true leader he is."