David Moyes felt Steven Pienaar was unlucky to see red when Sunderland took their first Premier League victory at Bournemouth.
The midfielder became referee Mike Dean's second sending off of the season when he was dismissed just before the hour of the Black Cats' come-from-behind 2-1 smash and grab.
Pienaar was shown a second yellow card in a challenge with Junior Stanislas. The 34-year-old appeared to win the ball before connecting with the home midfielder's leg.
Having been booked late in the first half for a foul on home man of the match, Jack Wilshere, he had to go.
But Moyes defended his player who was on the bench in his club suit when the 10-man Black Cats battled their way to their first three points of the season.
"I didn't think it was a sending off," said the manager. "But I can understand it can look that way.
"Anyone who knows Steven Pienaar, he's never made a tackle in his career."
Having gone behind in the 11th-minute to Ryan Gosling's close-range finish from Adam Smith's cross, Sunderland had done well to hit back with Victor Anichebe thumping in his first Premier League goal since May 2015.
And the players had to battle again after the exit of Pienaar, with Bournemouth applying a lot of pressure after the visitors went down to 10 men.
But when Smith pulled down Anichebe, after good work by Duncan Watmore, Jermain Defoe scored a 74th-minute winner from the penalty spot.
"We've been getting closer," said Moyes. "We had Arsenal at 1-1 after 70 minutes, but we just didn't quite have it after that
"We have to hang in and get the goals when we can."
The result has moved the Black Cats to just five points from safety going into the international break.
"Now we have one win, the next challenge is to go and get two," added Moyes.