Marcelo Bielsa has admitted he sent a ‘spy’ from Leeds to watch Derby training ahead of this evening’s Championship clash.
The Whites host Frank Lampard’s men at Elland Road bidding to pull five points clear at the top of the table.
But the run-up to the game has been dominated by “spy gate” after police were called to Rams training on Thursday.
And Bielsa has confirmed that he was responsible for sending the member of Leeds staff and takes “full responsibility”.
He told Sky Sports: “It’s true there was someone from Leeds United. I am responsible for this incident, I’m responsible for it.
“There are some reasons that I need to give. It doesn’t matter if this legal or illegal or right or wrong.
“For me, it’s enough that Derby and Frank Lampard felt that it was not the right thing to do. For me to believe that we didn’t behave well.
“Yesterday I talked to Frank Lampard and he told me that I did not respect the fair play book. I have a different point of view on it but, for me, what’s important is what Frank Lampard thinks about it.
“I’m responsible for it because I didn’t ask the club of Leeds United for permission to do it. For some people it’s the wrong thing to do, for other people it’s not the wrong thing to do.
“I’ve been using this kind of practice since the qualifications of the World Cup for Argentina, it’s not illegal, we’ve been doing it publicly, we talk about it in the press.”
Lampard himself was asked by Sky about the incident after Bielsa had admitted it.
And the former Chelsea midfielder admitted to being furious at the shenanigans.
“On a sportsman’s level it’s bad, in my opinion,” he said. “If we’re going to start talking about we did it somewhere else and it’s culturally fine, then that doesn’t work for me.
“If I’m in a different country then I will find out what is culturally acceptable and behave accordingly as to what is acceptable.
“It’s up to the League to deal with it. We had someone before the game (earlier in the season) and we lost 4-1. Leeds can beat you 4-1, they’re a fantastic team, but they had someone in the bushes that time as well.
“I don’t believe it’s fine. It’s disrupted our build up to this game. People are going to say we’re making excuses of it before the game but I will speak up win, lose or draw and will do it after the game.
“The police came on the training pitch, disruption number one. We were training the day before the game on team tactics, shape, personnel. The fact that Harry Wilson wasn’t training was very evident and the person watching was aware of that.
“If someone wants to say that’s not relevant the day before a game and how you prepare then that meets Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, then they’re just lucky. If tactics are not relevant and how you prepare is not important then they’re just lucky.”
Former Derby striker Darren Bent accused Leeds and Bielsa of “cheating” and claimed if the Argentinian was not top of the table then his job could be under threat.
Bent said: “It’s unethical. He needs to understand that things work differently in this country. You want a fair game and it’s not ethical really.
“We’re talking about cheating, that’s what it is really cheating, because he’s tried to get an extra edge.
“If this had happened and they’d been bottom half, but Leeds are flying and that’s what maybe got out of trouble.”