MELBOURNE Victory coach Kevin Muscat admits the first-half red card to Patrick Kisnorbo "played a part" in his team's 3-1 win over city rivals the Heart.
Kisnorbo was given his marching orders by referee Ben Williams for a reckless, studs-up challenge on Victory attacker Connor Pain.
While he said it had an impact on the derby, Muscat believes the result may not have been different if no red card had been shown.
"In hindsight now, it obviously played a part in the game, but who is to know what would've happened if he hadn't got himself sent off," Muscat told reporters.
"We've been in that situation before where the opposition went down to 10 men and we probably learnt from our mistakes.
"It wasn't our most polished performance by any stretch. Having played in some derbies myself, I know they're very, very difficult games to win.
"I'm immensely proud of the boys and the way they went on to win that game."
Mitch Nichols scored a brace and James Troisi got on the scoresheet once more after Kisnorbo's red card.
The win, which sent the Victory up to third in the A-League, came despite the late withdrawal of Archie Thompson.
Thompson was named in the starting line-up but withdrew after the warm-up due to hamstring tightness.
Muscat said the veteran would be reassessed ahead of the December 28 clash against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
"I was disappointed for him," Muscat said of Thompson.
"He got through everything required of him this week, just in the warm-up he felt it tightening up.
"From his perspective, it was a real team thing to do because it wouldn't have been easy for him to put his hand up and say that he's not at a 100 per cent."
Muscat still believes his team are yet to reach their best form, despite being just six points behind league leaders the Brisbane Roar.