Lamps furious over Bielsa ‘spy’
FRANK Lampard insisted he would rather quit coaching than employ the ‘spying’ tactics used by opposite number Marcelo Bielsa ahead of Derby County’s defeat at Leeds United.
The build-up to the match was overshadowed after a man was caught outside Derby’s training ground on Thursday.
Derbyshire Police were forced to intervene and it transpired the man was an employee of Leeds who was watching a training session.
Bielsa spoke to Lampard over the phone to accept full responsibility for the incident, but the former England midfielder was still unhappy with the pre-match distraction after goals from Kemar Roofe and Jack Harrison secured Leeds a welcome win.
“We lost to the better team from minute one to minute 90 whatever,” said Lampard.
“There’s no talking around that. I’m in a difficult position because I want to draw a line between the performance and the bigger story of what happened.
“Of course I don’t think it’s right and I’m not sure anyone who’s played sport at any level would think it’s right.
“Cheating is a big word. If you talk about gaining advantages, great and good managers do that. But this one is over the line. It’s not just a toe over the line, it’s a hop, skip and a jump over the line.
“I’d rather not coach than send people undercover on their hands and knees with plyers and bolt cutters to go and look at the opposition because I respect the opposition.”
Leeds appeared to have made a dream start inside the first minute when referee Andy Davies awarded a penalty after Ezgjan Alioski had been bundled over in the box, only to see his assistant had incorrectly flagged for offside.
United did, however, go ahead after 20 minutes when exciting youngster Jack Clarke glided past Craig Bryson, before sending over a cross which was guided home at the near post by Roofe.
A minute into the second period Scott Carson could only parry Clarke’s floated cross and Ezgjan Alioski’s scuffed centre left Harrison with an easy chance to make it 2-0.
Rams sub David Nugent was presented with a chance to get Derby right back in it when Bailey Peacock-Farrell came charging out of his goal and only just managed to block the striker’s 40-yard attempt with his legs.
Leeds remained a threat on the break and twice went close through sub Jamie Shackleton and the irrepressible Clarke.
Bielsa insisted it was not his intention to gain an advantage and absolved his club of any blame.
The former Argentina and Chile coach admitted it is a tactic he has employed for a number of years.
“It’s something legal in South America and here, too,” said Bielsa. “But when it becomes public it doesn’t provoke the same indignation as it does in England.
“I didn’t call him (Lampard) to apologise, I called him to say it actually happened and that I was responsible.”
JOY: Jack Harrison, centre, celebrates scoring Leeds’ second. Inset above: Adam Forshaw and David Nugent battle. Below: Leeds fans in the stands make spy gestures