Derby claim training ground 'spy' stopped by police was Leeds employee

Leeds United players celebrate Jack Harrison's goal against Derby County

Leeds United players celebrate Jack Harrison's goal against Derby County

The buildup to the game was overshadowed by claims that a member of Leeds' coaching staff had been spotted acting suspiciously near Derby's training ground on Thursday, some alleging he had been sent to spy on Frank Lampard's side's preparations for the game.

Gary Neville, former Manchester United player and England assistant coach, has criticised the press for taking the moral high ground in the debate, recalling times when journalists would send spies to watch England train at global tournaments and publish tactics, effectively doing the opposition's preparation for them. I am responsible for it because I didn't ask for Leeds United permission to do it. There's no one saying you can't do it, it's just one of those things a lot of people choose not to do.

He said: "I understand (Derby manager) Frank Lampard is angry because he thinks I'm someone who is cheating".

Leeds boss Bielsa accepted in a pre-match interview before Friday's 2-0 win over the Rams that he was personally responsible for sending a club employee but showed little remorse in defending his actions.

"Leeds can beat you 4-1 because they are a fantastic team, but they had someone in the bushes that day".

Bielsa said last night that he was ready to accept any sanctions from the club or the FA but insisted he had not apologised to Lampard, despite phoning the Derby boss to accept responsibility for the scout's appearance.

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Yesterday I talked to Frank and he told me I didn't respect his club.

"It is, of course, up to Derby County as to how they progress this matter but as of yet we have received no complaint or contact from the club". "On a sporting level, it's bad, in my opinion. People will say I am making an excuse, but I will speak like this after the game whether we win, lose or draw".

An EFL spokesperson earlier said: "We are aware of the reports in relation to an incident at the training ground of Derby County". We were training on team tactics, team shape, personnel, how we are going to press, how we will work off the ball, the fact Harry Wilson wasn't training would become evident, so the person who is watching will see all of that.

"I don't think we need to [make a complaint] because he's admitted it".

"That's good. He said the same to me, so I'm pleased", said the Derby manager.

The Rams have made a positive start under Frank Lampard so far, with 43 points from 26 Championship games.

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