Thomas Tuchel’s side appeared to be heading towards a straightforward win when Christian Pulisic put the Blues ahead in the 27th minute, reacting quickly after Sam Johnstone had diverted a Marcos Alonso free-kick onto the post.
The momentum swung firmly back in Albion’s favour just two minutes later, however, when veteran defender Silva was given his marching orders for what was deemed a reckless challenge on Okay Yokuslu.
Silva, making his first appearance in two months following an injury-enforced absence, had earlier been booked for hauling back Matheus Pereira, and his red card sparked an astonishing capitulation.
‘Lessons need to be learned from difficult days, so that the next day is the beginning of a new beginning,’ the 36-year-old wrote on Instagram, reflecting on a shock defeat which blew the race for the top four wide open again.
‘I believe it was not an expulsion move, I haven’t seen the video yet, but the referee made his decision and we can’t change what happened.
‘I assume my responsibility for the expulsion, which unfortunately directly affected the result of the game.
‘Now we have to join our forces, because Wednesday it will be another battle. Come on Chelsea.’
Speaking after the match, meanwhile, Tuchel refused to use Thiago’s fate as a reason for his side’s collapse.
‘I didn’t see the red card, I saw the two big mistakes in our own half before the yellow cards,’ said the German. ‘That is not typical for us, we were rusty. We made easy mistakes and were punished. It was totally our fault.’
‘We did big mistakes before the two yellow cards. There were too many easy ball losses.’
On Chelsea’s poor defending after being reduced to 10 men, Tuchel continued: ‘I did not see that second half coming. We tried to give a bit of security with a back three but we were never in a flow. We had some chances but we didn’t defend well.
‘We could not adapt to the situation which is a surprise as we were leading. We are normally confident enough to defend but we were sloppy and kept making big mistakes. We were punished hard and it’s tough to digest.’
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