PEP Clotet felt there was nothing malicious in Ricardinho’s two-footed lunge but had no complaints over the full back’s red card.

The Brazilian was dismissed for the reckless tackle on Conor McGrandles eight minutes from time, but fortunately it did not jeopardise Oxford United’s 3-1 victory against Milton Keynes Dons.

While it looked an ugly challenge, Clotet put it down to overenthusiasm.

He said: “We were playing a really good game and didn’t want to leave any stone unturned.

“In that action Ricardinho felt he could get to the ball, he didn’t do it with bad purpose.

“It’s sad for him because he will have that suspension, but I think he’s a fantastic player and he showed how much he fights for the team.”

As the only specialist left back in the squad, Ricardinho’s absence will be felt during his three-match ban in Sky Bet League One.

Dwight Tiendalli, who is a more natural right back, is the most likely to deputise, while Josh Ruffels could move from central midfield.

Clotet said: “In this team we show we can overcome difficulties, we’ve had them all season and it happens.

“It’s another challenge we’re facing now.”