Leeds’ home­work pays off in style

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER - LOUISE TAY­LOR

Leeds United 2

Derby County 0

For a man who had just been un-masked as a spy mas­ter run­ning a se­ries of agents em­broiled in the murky, clan­des­tine world of “dark-ops”, Marcelo Bielsa cut a re­mark­ably un­con­cerned tech­ni­cal area fig­ure.

The for­mer Ar­gentina man­ager sees lit­tle wrong with snoop­ing on op­po­nents and this com­bi­na­tion of coach­ing and re­con­nais­sance seems un­beat­able.

Bielsa has not only re­placed beauty with ug­li­ness on the field but led Leeds to the top of the Cham­pi­onship where they stand five points clear.

This will for ever be a fix­ture haunted by mem­o­ries of the bit­ter ri­valry be­tween Don Re­vie and Brian Clough and it kicked off on a suit­ably ac­ri­mo­nious note.

Ear­lier in the day Derby an­nounced that po­lice had been called to their train­ing ground on Thurs­day fol­low­ing re­ports of a man equipped with binoc­u­lars, wire cut­ters and cam­ou­flage cloth­ing lurk­ing sus­pi­ciously

just out­side its bound­aries.

Bielsa admitted he had sent a mem­ber of his back­room staff to spy on Lam­pard’s prepa­ra­tions, re­veal­ing it was a ploy com­mon in South Amer­ica and some­thing he had been de­ploy­ing since his days in charge of Ar­gentina.

Derby’s unim­pressed man­ager did not seem mol­li­fied. In­deed Lam­pard in­di­cated he be­lieved it was no co­in­ci­dence that, shortly be­fore his side lost 4-1 to Leeds at home ear­lier in the sea­son, a man was spot­ted lurk­ing in the bushes be­side their train­ing com­plex.

Fol­low­ing a rather awk­ward hand­shake be­tween the two man­agers, Lam­pard saw his side fall be­hind quickly. When Jack Clarke swept be­yond Craig Bryson and de­liv­ered a su­perb right-wing cross, Ke­mar Roofe was in the right place to lash a first-time vol­ley be­yond Scott Car­son.

Lam­pard dug his hands deeper into his track­suit pock­ets. His team seemed over­whelmed by the re­lent­lessly high tempo of Leeds high press­ing game.

Derby were fail­ing to fathom out the home side’s highly fluid for­ma­tion and po­si­tional ro­ta­tion. Yet Leeds had not cre­ated many clear-cut chances.

Un­for­tu­nately for Derby’s man­ager all that changed at the

out­set of the se­cond half. Leeds dou­bled their ad­van­tage.

Once again Clarke pro­voked panic on the right and, once again, Car­son made less than per­fect con­tact as he mis­read his loop­ing cross. His punch trav­elled only as far as Ezg­jan Alioski who played it back in for Jack Har­ri­son to score with a tap-in.

– Guardian LEEDS UNITED: Pea­cock-Far­rell, Ay ling, J ans son, Cooper, Al io ski, For shaw, Clarke( Davis 79), Her­nan­dez, K li ch, Har­ri­son( Shack­le­ton 63), Roo fe. Subs Not Used: Roberts, Huff er, Stevens, Hal me, Got ts. Booked:Roo fe. DERBY COUNTY: Car­son, Wis­dom( Nu­gent 46), Keogh, Tom ori,Lowe,B ry son, Evans (Joze­fzo on 61), Mount, Holmes, Mar­riott (W ag horn 73), Lawrence. Subs Not Used: Roos,B ogle, Hud­dle stone, M alone. Booked: Wis­dom, Evans, Holmes, W ag horn. REF­EREE: Andy Davies( Hamp­shire ).

PHO­TO­GRAPH: PA

Leeds United fans make binoc­u­lar ges­tures dur­ing the Cham­pi­onship match at El­land Road last night.

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