Chelsea's Carvalho apologises to Agbonlahor

Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho has apologised for his X-rated challenge on Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor during yesterday's 4-4 draw.

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.

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