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By ESPN Staff

Carvalho apologises for horror tackle

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.