Sale boss Steve Diamond believes his side were their own worst enemy after three yellow cards saw them slip to an 18-16 defeat to Exeter.
Six Gareth Steenson penalties proved enough for the Chiefs to secure a third Aviva Premiership win on the spin and while Mark Cueto notched his 82nd league try late on, it was enough only for a losing bonus point.
The Chiefs led 15-6 at half-time after three Sale players were shown a yellow card - prop Vadim Cobilas on 18 minutes, hooker Tommy Taylor on 32 and lock Kirill Kulemin four minutes later.
The Sharks rallied after the break and Cueto might have scored earlier, only for the former England wing to knock on and while he did dot down late on, there was just a minute left when Danny Cipriani nailed the conversion.
"We got the bonus point in the end," said Diamond.
"We played with 14 men for 30 minutes so you can't expect to win the game.
"I'm disappointed with our discipline in the first half, though second half we did reasonably well.
"They're a good side, they came and played a methodical game and did it well and built the scoreline up and we reacted badly and in an ill-disciplined way so we're disappointed with that.
"At half-time we thought we could turn it around but a couple of opportunities we didn't take and it was just too far into the game when we scored that try.
"So we got a bonus and were beaten by a better side on the night. We were our own worst enemies on the night."
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter meanwhile, was full of praise for the spirit and determination shown by his side, coming in contrast to the stylish manner in which they put Worcester Warriors to the sword last time out.
"It's a very important away win in the Premiership for us. We showed a lot of good qualities," he said.
"I've just said to the players I enjoy watching us play like we did last week when we get on the front foot and we counter away and we score a few tries but it's also satisfying to watch the boys stand and fight like they had to do here.
"They deserve a big slap on the back for fighting like they did because there's no doubt the fixture could have slipped away from us like it did last year.
"This is the way I look at it: Sale have managed to not concede a try but how have they not managed to concede a try?
"I'm not going to sit here and say are all the yellow cards that get dished out are warranted but there's ways of stopping teams scoring tries as well and giving away penalties is one way of doing it."