Marcelo Bielsa refused to rule out continuing to employ the same ‘spy’ tactics that overshadowed Leeds’ 2-0 win over fellow promotion hopefuls Derby at Elland Road.
The build-up to the Sky Bet Championship match was dominated by claims from Derby that a man was caught outside their training ground on Thursday.
Derbyshire Police were forced to intervene and it transpired the individual was an employee of Leeds who was watching a training session.
Bielsa spoke to Derby boss Frank Lampard over the phone to accept full responsibility and was open about the incident after goals from Kemar Roofe and Jack Harrison secured Leeds a welcome win on Friday night.
The former Argentina and Chile coach insisted it was not his intention to gain an advantage in a lengthy explanation that saw him admit it is something he has done for a number of years.
“I’m not trying to justify anything,” he said. “I’ve just explained why I feel I’m not a person who cheats and why I accept any reaction this behaviour creates.
“Things are as English football says. I have to respect the habits and traditions of this country.
“I would accept any sanction the club takes against me and any sanction the federation takes against me, and also the judgment of Derby County.
“This episode affects me. Of course the win is important. The only thing I’m going to apologise for is to have contaminated a football game with this subject.
“If I was a child, I would say I won’t do it again, but I wouldn’t feel right responding like this and would lose credibility.
“I won’t say that I won’t do it again. It’s a childish position to answer like that.”
The Football Association is investigating the matter and while Lampard joked the three points should be reversed, he went on to suggest the governing body needs to take firm action.
“It’s not for me to say what happens,” he said. “I believe there’s not an absolute clear-cut rule about it.
“But we can’t open the door to this thing happening every week. What kind of farce would that be? Everyone sending undercover people, drones etc into training. It would be farcical.
“Something has to be done. I don’t know what it is, it’s not my decision.”
Lampard felt Bielsa had acted against the spirit of the game and insisted he would rather quit coaching than employ the same tactics.
“Cheating is a big word,” he added. “If you talk about details and gaining advantages, great and good managers do that.
“But this one is over the line. It’s not just a toe over the line, it’s a hop, skip and a jump over the line.
“I’d rather not coach than send people undercover on their hands and knees with pliers and bolt cutters to go and look at the opposition because I respect the opposition.”
- Press Association