Chelsea coach Avram Grant criticised referee Peter Walton's decision to send off John Obi Mikel in their 2-1 Carling Cup semi-final first leg victory over Everton.
A late own goal by Everton defender Joleon Lescott saw Chelsea take the narrowest of leads to Goodison Park in two weeks' time.
But Grant was unhappy that Mikel - playing his last match before leaving to join up with his Nigeria team-mates for the African Cup of Nations - was dismissed in the 55th minute for a lunging tackle on Phil Neville.
Mikel has now been sent off four times in his Chelsea career, but Grant felt the latest red card was not warranted.
He said: "If this is a red card then two or three players who got yellow cards should also have been sent off.
"But I don't want to say anything else about this decision because the players who played deserve to be talked about.
"I understand why I'm being asked about this but I only want to talk about the way my players performed. I'm proud of them.
"I'm happy that we won. We deserved to win and created a lot of chances in the first half.
"We adapted very quickly to the red card. The players deserve credit for their spirit."