Albania boss Gianni De Biasi felt captain Lorik Cana’s red card in their Euro 2016 opener was down to him being “overwhelmed” by the occasion.
Cana, captaining his side in their first ever appearance at a major international tournament, picked up an early booking for a late lunge on Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili before he was sent off for a hand-ball as Haris Seferovic threatened to break through on goal.
De Biasi conceded that referee Carlos Velasco Carballo had little alternative and felt that Cana needed to show more restraint to avoid the first yellow card.
“We felt the emotion during the game, but when it comes down to the referee, I don’t think there was a problem with that,” he said. “I think he tried to let the game flow and that was very important.
“It was a very fair sending-off. Lorik really will feel upset that he won’t play against France, but I think if he’d been a bit more switched-on and not picked up the first yellow card that would’ve been great. I think he felt a little overwhelmed.
“It was disappointing but he couldn’t do anything about it [the hand-ball].”
Fabian Schar headed in the only goal of the game after just five minutes, and De Biasi – whose side face home nation France on matchday two – admitted they were made to pay for faltering at the key moments of the match.
“As I said yesterday [Friday], we needed to make a good start. That wasn’t necessarily what happened,” he said. “I think we really felt the pressure from a mental perspective.
“We didn’t play as I expected in the first 20 minutes and everything is more difficult when you concede. I think the key moments were the goal, Lorik Cana’s dismissal and our three chances, especially the one at the end from Shkelzen Gashi. We didn’t have any luck with the key incidents.
“In the second half we had these incredible chances which we should have used better, but matches are determined by fine margins. We conceded a crazy goal. There was a host of strange situations, and we couldn’t make the most of the chances that we normally do.
“We need to leave this behind in the dressing-room. What I said to the players can be very important for the coming days. Clearly France are the favourites but we’ll try to repeat our past positive results and see if we’re still in it come the Romania game.”