Derby boss Frank Lampard refused to use suspected ‘spying’ by Leeds as an excuse for their 2-0 defeat to Marcelo Bielsa’s side on Friday evening.
Earlier on Friday, it was announced that the FA is set to investigate Derby’s claims that their training session on Thursday was watched by a suspected ‘spy’, with Bielsa himself admitting ahead of the clash that it was he who had sent a member of staff.
Lampard had said he didn’t care if Bielsa’s actions were cultural prior to kick-off but regardless of his views on the incident, the former Chelsea midfielder ruled out the actions of the Leeds employee as a factor in his side’s defeat at Elland Road.
Visibly downbeat, he told Sky Sports: The best team won, without a doubt. They were better than us from the first minute to the last. Definitely below the standards we set in terms of energy but mainly on the ball, we didn’t have the courage to play against the team that works hard to stop you playing.
But you have to keep playing and that’s what I can’t accept.
The players would have felt it because they’d have felt a very tough game there against a very good team, but you have to try to play more and have more quality, because we have got more quality and we didn’t show it.
I think we spoke enough about it [the suspected ‘spying’] before the game, because it is a story for before the game. Regardless of the game individually, it’s an ethical question, but in terms of this game and how we played, I can’t stand here and mention anything else other than the performance – they were the better team.
Rams defender Andre Wisdom received an early let-off after the linesman had flagged Ezgjan Alioski offside inside 40 seconds, despite his hefty challenge on the Macedonian, and Lampard added that he knew what to expect from the league leaders.
He added: We’re lucky there because it would have been a penalty. It was far away for us to see anyway but they started out of the blocks. But we knew that. We knew what they do here and that’s why the boys have been so successful here this season.
Whether it [the suspected ‘spying’] is a league issue or an FA issue, they have to deal with it, but it’s up to them. I feel wrong to talk about it in this moment because it would seem like I’m making an excuse; the performance deserves no excuses.