Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has admitted to spying on every team his side have faced in the Championship this season.
Bielsa’s admission that he sent a spy to Derby County’s training ground to gather information on Frank Lampard’s side ahead of their clash last Friday night has been dominating the headlines in recent days, with the Leeds boss coming in some heavy criticism from many pundits and sections of the media.
Enigmatic Argentinian coach Bielsa is now under investigation by the Football League for the incident. The 63-year-old, who has enjoyed a colourful career and is said to have heavily influenced Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, called an impromptu press conference for 5pm today, leading to speculation that he may resign from his post at Elland Road.
However, those reports proved to be untrue and during a sensational 70 minute press briefing, the former Athletic Bilbao coach again took full responsibility for ‘spy gate,’ although he did point out that he had not actually done anything illegal.
It also soon became clear that whatever information can be ascertained from seeing another team train is only a needle in a haystack in terms of the overall analysis the obsessive coach carries out on the opponents he faces.
Bielsa revealed that he has watched not only every game of all the teams he’s faced this campaign, but also every game from last season, a process he insisted takes four hours per game. The former Chile and Argentina boss used a powerpoint presentation throughout to show how much detail he drills down into on each team he faces in terms of formations and individual players.
All of Bielsa’s presentation focused on Derby, so if Frank Lampard was angry at him viewing his training session last week, it will be interesting to see how the former England international reacts to an in-depth analysis of his side’s tactics being shared with the watching world.
Bielsa’s cult status will surely only continue to grow after today’s events, with the Leeds boss even stating that he hopes his honesty will make it easier for the Football League to investigate the matter. Here’s how the Argentine opened his epic presser:
”I have called this because tomorrow we have the classic press briefing and I thought the spy matter would take up time I want to dedicate to the game,” Bielsa told the press.
“The club is not responsible whatsoever. The person followed my orders and I am the only person responsible.
“I observed all the rivals we played against and watched the training sessions of all our opponents before we played against them.
“Many people have condemned the behaviour saying it was immoral and affecting fair play, saying that it was cheating, many managers and ex-players thought my behaviour was disrespectful.
“I don’t want to compare my behaviour with previous behaviours regarding the subject. I’ve heard there are other behaviours that affect fair play but I don’t want to defend myself by attacking others.
“What I’ve done is not illegal. It’s not specified, it’s not described. We can discuss about it, but it’s not a violation of the law.”
Leeds currently sit on top of the Championship by four points, with 19 games remaining and its fair to say plenty of Premier League fans will be hopeful of seeing Bielsa in the top flight next season.