Derby County manager Frank Lampard says that Leeds United deserve to achieve promotion from the EFL Championship this season despite the ‘spygate’ scandal.
Earlier this season the Whites and manager Marcelo Bielsa admitted to spying on their league opponents at training grounds, with the issue uncovered by Derby, who called the police after a person with binoculars (who turned out to be a Leeds scout) was spotted watching Lampard’s side train ahead of a match at Elland Road.
Leeds were fined £200,000 and warned to not repeat their behaviour, which breached EFL regulation 3.4 stating clubs must behave in ‘utmost good faith’ towards their fellow clubs.
“The facts remain the same, we had to stop our training session and Leeds have obviously gone on and said that it happens regularly – which is fair play actually and it’s been dealt with,” Lampard told Drive.
“I’m passionate about the job I am doing and the work here I am doing and so when a day before going into the game, sort of in good faith, trying to work you’re team and we were working on team shape when the police came.
“It happened very quickly – I don’t want to be a cry baby about that moment in itself. Just as a manager, personally I felt that’s something which is a bit sacred. Working, in detail, about the game tomorrow and that’s just how I felt.
“I know it got so many legs in the end and it ran away with itself so I tried to sort of step away from it even though I got asked in every press conference. But then it got dealt with.
“I think it’s something, in my view, which shouldn’t go on again. I think the punishment was more than enough and I was never there asking for points to be taken off Leeds.”
Lampard was also gracious enough to admit Leeds deserved to up regardless of their prior indiscretions.
“I think actually Leeds are a fantastic team this year and Bielsa is a fantastic manager,” he added. “And the way it’s going, them and Norwich are the outstanding teams in the league at this minute and the ones that will deserve promotion – ‘spygate’ or no ‘spygate’.
“I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it that it is an absolute game-changer.
“It was just one those of those managerial things – everyone is very intense on their tactics and how they can get a small edge.
“And I just thought it was something that wasn’t quite right in the etiquette of how we work.”
You can see Leeds United in Championship action on Saturday afternoon when they host Sheffield United.The match will be live on Fox Sports 1 from 14h25 CAT.