ARGYLE manager John Sheridan blamed frustration for Andres Gurrieri’s red card in the 3-0 defeat against promotion-chasing Rochdale at Spotland.
Gurrieri was sent-off by referee Mark Brown in the 53rd minute after he challenged centre-back Jack O’Connell for a header.
O’Connell fell heavily to the ground and Gurrieri was immediately surrounded by angry Rochdale players, who felt an elbow had been used.
Brown did not take much time to make the decision to brandish the red card in the direction of Gurrieri.
O’Connell did return to the action for Rochdale after receiving treatment but with a bloodied nose.
Gurrieri will now have to serve a three-match suspension, starting against Cheltenham Town at Home Park on Saturday.
He will also be ruled out of the trip to Newport County on January 28 and the visit of Mansfield Town on February 1.
His dismissal came after a below-par performance from Gurrieri, who repeatedly have away possession.
Sheridan said: “He was probably frustrated because I feel as though he was having a bad time. He kept giving the ball away.
“I couldn’t really see it from where I was. I don’t know what he has been sent-off for.
“But it has made life very difficult for us because we were on the top of the game then,” added the Pilgrims’ boss.
Rochdale were leading 1-0 at the time, after a goal from midfielder Jamie Allen in only the fourth minute.
But Argyle had made a purposeful start to the second half and Lewis Alessandra forced a fine save out of Josh Lillis before Gurrieri was sent-off.
Rochdale then added two spectacular goals in the closing stages of the game, scored by Ian Henderson and Michael Rose.
Sheridan said: “We are playing a team who are near the top (of the table) and we are playing to try to get in the play-off areas.
“I would have liked us to come out and have a little bit more of a go in the first half.
“We just didn’t get going. They (Rochdale) had a lot of possession without really causing us any problems.
“When we went to 10 men, I can’t fault the players.
“They worked hard, but it made really difficult for us to try to get anything out of the game.”