"I don't want to be a cry baby." Frank Lampard tries to draw a line under Spygate - and admits Leeds United deserve to win promotion

Derby County manager Frank Lampard.Derby County manager Frank Lampard.
Derby County manager Frank Lampard.
Derby County manager Frank Lampard has described the ‘Spygate’ fine imposed on Leeds United as “more than enough” - and tipped Leeds and Norwich City to win the automatic promotion race.

In an interview with Talksport, Lampard defended his view on the controversy over Marcelo Bielsa’s scouting strategy but admitted the furore “got so many legs and ran away with itself” after Derby made a public issue of it.

Leeds and Derby found themselves in dispute after a member of Bielsa’s backroom staff was stopped by police outside County’s training ground on January 10, the day before Lampard’s side lost 2-0 at Elland Road.

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The intern, who was watching Derby train from a public road, was allowed to leave after questioning and was not placed under arrest but Bielsa phoned Lampard later that day to take responsibility after County complained about the scout’s appearance.

The Pride Park club made a statement on their website about the incident and later submitted a formal complaint to the EFL.

Bielsa subsequently admitted to sending scouts to observe every Championship club train and Leeds were fined £200,000 by the EFL last month. The governing body is expected to introduce a new rule this summer banning scouts from travelling to opposition training grounds in the 72 hours before a match.

Lampard said Bielsa’s approach “wasn’t quite right in the etiquette of how we work” but insisted that ‘Spygate’ did not detract from the performance of the Argentinian, whose side are top of the Championship with nine game to go.

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“It happened very quickly,” Lampard told Talksport. “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, 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 step away from it even though I got asked in every press conference. But then it got dealt with.

“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.

“Leeds are a fantastic team this year and Bielsa’s a fantastic manager. 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’.”