Head coach Oscar Garcia felt skipper Gordon Greer's dismissal in Brighton's 1-1 home draw with fellow play-off contenders Reading "completely changed the game".
But the Spaniard stopped short of directly criticising referee Fred Graham for his decision to wave a second yellow card to the Seagulls centre back six minutes into the second half.
Greer, booked initially for bringing down Adam Le Fondre in the 36th minute, saw red for a late challenge on the same player.
Brighton were leading at that stage thanks to a 17th-minute own goal from Chris Gunter and Reading went on to clinch a point thanks Royston Drenthe's first goal for the club on 64 minutes.
Garcia refused to reveal his opinions when asked if Reading players had put pressure on Graham to produce a second yellow card by surrounding the referee following the incident.
Choosing his words carefully, he said: "The sending off completely changed the game. We started the second half with good chances to score, but then came the sending off.
"There was nothing else Gordon Greer could have done. The referee saw the challenge and showed the second yellow card.
"This question (the sending off) is for the referee and not for me."
Reading boss Nigel Adkins had no doubt the referee was correct and said: "I thought it was a clear yellow card and therefore a second yellow card and a sending off."
Asked if he felt his players had pressured the referee, Adkins added: "Bruno took one of our players out earlier on so I'm not getting involved in any of that."
Garcia said he felt "pleased and proud" with the way his players kept going with ten men and could not fault their performance.
Albion keeper Tomasz Kuszczak was beaten at his near post when Drenthe struck to hit the equaliser, but Garcia refused to put any blame on the former Manchester United player.
He said: "Tomasz had a late look at the ball. He did make a great save shortly before the equaliser.
"It's not easy to play with ten against 11 but I'm very happy and proud of all of my players. Reading have Premier League players but even against ten men they didn't create a lot of chances."
Adkins was delighted with the way his men responded after "giving away a poor goal".
He said: "We re-grouped and came very strongly in the second half. It's pleasing that Royston is now off the mark and young Michael Hector was superb at centre-half.
"Brighton play some good football; I enjoy watching them play and coming from behind is pleasing after the week we've had with players on international duty.
"The squad has stepped up and done very well. We're in the mix and have some good players in the club who want to do well."