Sam Allardyce slammed West Brom skipper Jake Livermore for his “reckless” sending off in a nightmare opening loss.
New Baggies boss Allardyce was given a stark glimpse of the size of the task ahead at 19th-placed Albion by a 3-0 home loss to Aston Villa.
His side fell behind after just five minutes to Anwar El Ghazi’s goal and were hit by skipper Livermore’s costly red before the break.
Livermore, 31, was sent off for diving in on Jack Grealish by the touchline.
Ten-man Albion conceded twice in the closing stages as Bertrand Traore slotted in and El Ghazi struck from the spot.
New boss Allardyce, whose side visits Liverpool next, said: “I’m really disappointed with the result and sending off of our captain.
“I am upset with Jake.
“I couldn’t be anything other than upset.
“The first thing I said to the lads was we can’t afford any more red cards because they had already had two and lo and behold.
“I won’t accept another sending off no matter what.
“Otherwise we will have no chance of staying up.
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“He gets fined for the sending off and because he did a reckless thing on the pitch we lose him for three matches.
“He has apologised and looks very upset.
“But if I consider someone else does well with the armband next then they can keep it.”
Villa boss Dean Smith felt Livermore’s 36th minute red for a foul on visitors’ skipper Grealish was justified.
He said: “You cannot lunge and Jake Livermore is frustrated and lunges in.
“He catches Jack Grealish on the calf and by the letter of the law it is a red. It was a bit of red mist, you cannot tackle like that.
“Jack was fantastic. His balance is incredible, he is so hard to knock off the ball.”
Villa hero El Ghazi, who also scored the winner at Wolves earlier this month, was only denied a hat-trick by a late Sam Johnstone save.
El Ghazi said: “It’s an amazing night for me and Aston Villa, another derby we have won.”