Dale Stephens says fellow midfielder Aaron Mooy was unlucky to be sent off in the 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa.

The Australian midfielder committed two fouls in five minutes to pick up two yellow cards and an early bath.

The first booking came in the 30th minute when he kicked the ball away to prevent a free-kick being taken quickly and then squared up to Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba.

Referee David Coote issued a second caution for a challenge on Jack Grealish.

Stephens said: “I have not seen them back. The first one is cheap – I’m not sure he kicked the ball further than two or three yards.

“The second one I’m not so sure. It could be a booking, but I’m really not sure about the first one.

“It’s disappointing to go down to ten men because I thought we were in charge, creating chances and looked to be in full control of the game.

“When you go to ten men at this level it is difficult.”

Stephens revealed Mooy had not held his hands up in the dressing room after being sent off.

He said: “No, he was quite obviously disappointed. Himself, he didn’t think it was a sending off.

“A lot of the boys have seen the first one live and I thought it was a harsh booking.

“But these things happen in football, you have got to get on with it and our reaction was brilliant.”

But Mooy took to social media yesterday morning to say sorry.

Mooy posted on Instagram: “Just want to apologise to everyone for my stupidity. I’m sorry for ruining your weekend.”

Despite going down to ten men, Stephens felt Albion deserved some reward.

He said: “We obviously put a lot of effort in as it’s hard in the game when you go down to ten. We probably did enough overall, even though we had one less man for 50 minutes.”