Leeds’ homework pays off in style
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 ).
Leeds United fans make binocular gestures during the Championship match at Elland Road last night.