Dan Burke

🎥 Marcelo Bielsa admits he sent a spy to Derby’s training ground

"I've been using these kind of tactics since the qualifications for the World Cup with Argentina"

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that he sent a spy to watch Derby County train ahead of Friday evening’s Championship clash.

On Thursday, police were called to the Rams’ training centre after reports of suspicious behaviour from a man outside the premises.

The man was questioned at the scene, and the Football Association began investigating allegations that he was a spy sent by Leeds.

And speaking in the build-up to Friday’s game at Elland Road, Bielsa sensationally confirmed the allegations.

“It’s true there was someone from Leeds United,” Bielsa told Sky Sports.

“The responsibility for this lies with me. I’m responsible.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or illegal, or right or wrong. For me it’s enough that Frank Lampard and Derby County feel it was not the right thing to do and that I didn’t behave well.

“Yesterday I talked to Frank Lampard and he told me I didn’t respect the fair play rules.

“I have a different point of view but the important thing is what Frank Lampard and Derby County think.

“I didn’t ask permission from Leeds United to do it so it’s my responsibility.

“Without trying to find a justification, I’ve been using this kind of practice since the qualifications for the World Cup with Argentina.”

Derby boss Lampard also spoke to Sky before the game, and to say the former England midfielder was less than impressed would be an understatement.

“At least, on a sportsman’s level, it’s bad in my opinion,” said Lampard.

“If we’re going to start talking about ‘culturally, I did it somewhere else’ – that doesn’t work for me.

“If I’m lucky enough to do well and travel to another country I’ll find out what the etiquette is in that country and abide by that.

“It’s disrupted our build-up to this game. People are going to say I’m trying to make an excuse – but I’m going to speak like this after the game win, lose or draw.”

And it’s true that Bielsa has form for this kind of thing.

Leeds went on to win the match 2-0, and Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich had a light-hearted dig at the scandal as he came off the pitch.

This fixture was once a legendary battle of wits between Brian Clough and Don Revie, and it seems Bielsa and Lampard have now picked up the mantle for the modern era.