Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho has apologised for his vicious two-footed challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor in today's 4-4 Premier League draw with Aston Villa.
Carvalho was shown a straight red card by referee Phil Dowd for the 80th minute horror-tackle that could have inflicted serious injury on Agbonlahor.
The Portuguese defender said: 'It was never my intention to hurt Gabriel Agbonlahor with the tackle.
'I was going for the ball and I don't want people to think that I tried to hurt another player.
'I didn't see him after the game to apologise but I asked for a message to be passed on to him.'
Chelsea boss Avram Grant backed Carvalho's claim there was no malice involved in the incident.
He said: 'For me what's important is that Carvalho did not intend to hurt the player - I didn't see any intention.
'The red card was the decision of the referee and I respect it. I will look at the incident again.'
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill maintained the sending off was fully justified.He said: 'It was straightforward red card and Gabriel was the last man, even though he had 40-odd yards to go.'
Carvalho will now miss matches against Newcastle and Fulham and an FA Cup third-round tie against Queens Park Rangers.
His dismissal was one of three in a controversial clash at Stamford Bridge with team-mate Ashley Cole and Villa centre back Zat Knight also receiving their marching orders.
The absence of Carvalho and Cole leaves Chelsea without virtually their entire first-choice defence with skipper John Terry also in the treatment room.