Most Read Football

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package1

Friday night Premier League tips

Friday Night Football returns in the Premier League with not one but two matches taking place under the floodlights.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages2

Paper Talk: Chelsea Icardi interest

Chelsea and Real Madrid are both in Mauro Icardi after he was stripped of the Inter Milan captaincy.

Ryan Giggs3

‘United's worst case scenario!’

Ryan Giggs, speaking exclusively to Sporting Life, discusses Manchester United v Liverpool and the current state of the Premier League title race.

Olivier Giroud celebrates a goal for Chelsea4

Welcome win for Sarri's Blues

Maurizio Sarri enjoyed the perfect confidence boost ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final as Chelsea beat Malmo 3-0 to make the last 16 of the Europa League.

Sokratis and Aubameyang celebrate for Arsenal5

Europa League review

Arsenal safely negotiated their way into the last 16 of the Europa League with a 3-0 win over BATE Borisov at the Emirates, while Celtic went out in Valencia.

Spygate managers' views: Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp discuss Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United incident

Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and Ryan Giggs have all discussed spygate
Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and Ryan Giggs have all discussed spygate

Football managers around the country have been asked to give their thoughts on the 'spygate' incident surrounding Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United.

Argentinian boss Bielsa admitted sending a member of his staff to watch all of Leeds' opponents in training this season, but insisted it was only tiny percentage of the preparation he puts in during an elaborate news conference on Wednesday.

The Sky Bet Championship leaders held an impromptu press conference where Bielsa admitted on having watched every team in training, but then went on to produce an elaborate presentation detailing that it was only a minor part of the vast preparation that goes into every game.

Bielsa admitted he was responsible for sending a member of club staff to watch Derby training on Thursday, and now wanted to make it easier for the on-going English Football League investigations.

Bielsa's detailed analysis and admission to sending a member of his staff has been a hot topic this week.

Sporting Life rounds up what some of the Premier League and Sky Bet EFL bosses have been saying, starting with Bielsa fanatics Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino.

Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)

Marcelo Bielsa came up against Pep Guardiola during his time at Athletic Bilbao
Marcelo Bielsa came up against Pep Guardiola during his time at Athletic Bilbao

“The respect remains the same, absolutely the same. If I have admired before what he has done in the past, why should I change my opinions? I know him, I will not say perfectly, but a little bit and my opinion about him remains the same.

“I understand Frank Lampard too. Both positions are more than understandable.”

"In all the countries I have been before, everybody does it. When we were training at Bayern Munich there were people in the little mountains with cameras and the opponent was watching what we did. Everybody did it.

"It is the culture of the clubs. It was part of the club. Not because you said 'you have to do it'. It is the culture."

On the above story: “It’s true, the story is true.

"I didn’t see the whole press conference, but I saw highlights and no manager around the world works with this amount of information that he produces for every single game, for every single player, for every single movement, for everything all that they do."

Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)

Mauricio Pochettino moved to the Premier League with Southampton in 2013
Mauricio Pochettino moved to the Premier League with Southampton in 2013

“It’s a situation that makes me a little bit sad. It’s so important to split my special personal relationship with him and describe a situation that happened a week ago.

“Always my love is going to be with him. He was a person so important to me, to build my career as a player. After we’re talking about a situation that happened last week and I can’t agree (with it).

“For me, it’s wrong. I can understand (Derby manager) Frank Lampard’s feelings. It’s a thing that’s not easy to explain. The English people and the culture you create in the past here gives you the opportunity to work in privacy that doesn’t happen maybe in Germany or Argentina or Spain.

“Rather than talking about football and how fantastic Leeds are doing in the Championship, we’re talking about one fact that doesn’t help the football. That’s why the situation makes me a little bit sad. Of course it doesn’t change my view about Marcelo but I can’t agree with what happened.”

Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

Jurgen Klopp looks on at the Etihad
Jurgen Klopp looks on at the Etihad

"Most of the sessions, it’s not a big problem if someone would have a look. But the last two sessions, it’s not for anybody else, because you change a lot of things, you train the set-pieces, you train with the players before the weekend.

“It’s always an open question until you see the line-up and you are in the stadium. So I can understand. I can understand that Bielsa wants to have all the information, but then on the other side, we all have to accept that we don’t get them.

“Bielsa is an outstanding coach, an outstanding role model. When I came in, I hadn’t seen 51 games of Derby to be honest and he’s obviously really good and prepared. I respect him a lot, but that’s still not like it should be. I think we all agree on that.”

Ryan Giggs (exclusive)

"It is a difficult one, but I think everyone recognises it goes on in the game. Does it make a lot of difference? I honestly don’t know, I know you work on things in training and as coaches you try to get the upper hand by figuring out what the opposition will do.

"You have seen Jose Mourinho name his team in the past three or four days before the game, Bielsa did it this week, and I think in this day and age you try get as much of an edge as you can. Basically it’s down to the players on the day, what they can do, and I wouldn’t read too much into it myself.

"It’s been blown totally out of proportion from everyone really and at the end of the day it’s down to the players at kick-off to go down and perform their coach’s instructions. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t."

Maurizio Sarri (Chelsea)

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri watches his team in action
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri

“Yes (I've seen it before). In Italy, yes. I don't know what to say. I prefer to study my opponents by video. I think it's very difficult to have a lot of information in the last two days (before a game). I don't like this. Of course, every coach tries to have information about the opponents. But I don't like the way. It doesn't happen a lot in Italy, but it does happen.”

Sarri then joked: “I've never done it. Because I don't have very good spies.”

Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace)

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson

“Sneaking into other training grounds to see what teams are doing and get an advantage like that I do not understand at all, and I expect the governing bodies to do something about it.

“You don’t spy on other people; that’s the bottom line. Spying is a word that one should be very wary of using because it’s got such negative undertones. How there’s even any suggestion that spying on someone who does not want you to be watching can be justifiable is amazing to me.”

Tony Pulis (Middlesbrough)

"Leeds have got to deal with it the way they feel right. I've been in the game a long time, quite a few years ago you'd ring people up. I remember being at Gillingham and you ring people up to see what team they're playing, if they have injuries, ring a press man.

"It's always gone on. There's always been managers who didn't have opportunities to watch games we've got today. Then? Yeah. Today? We have so many games televised.

"I've got two sports analysts. They pick everything out of every game of the opposition we're playing against. I had 10 years in the Premier League and we had to squeeze every pip out of every player at every club. You honestly think I went into games without being organised, without having a plan?

"It's ridiculous to think Bielsa is the only man who's doing it (preparing). It (the data) is there! It's absolutely crazy. How can you send a person with a Leeds tracksuit and a wire cutter and binoculars to another training ground?

"I think he's got to start watching spy movies or something to see how it's done properly. Joking apart, Bielsa has been very honest, it's up to Leeds and up to the authorities. It will be interesting to see what the authorities make of it and what they do. Then you bring the authorities in and see what they say. It will be interesting."

Chris Wilder (Sheffield United)

Chris Wilder celebrates after victory over QPR
Chris Wilder celebrates after victory over QPR

"I think it's upset a few people, but there are parts of the game that upset me more," he told BBC Radio Sheffield.

"People diving about all over the place, getting people booked and people crowding around referees - it does my coconut in. It's something I wouldn't do and that's possibly the same for the majority of English managers. But I think it's been over exaggerated."

Graham Potter (Swansea)

"I have no problem with it. If someone has the resources and wants to drive in a car and hide and watch us train, it is not something I'm too bothered about."

Steve Lansdown (Bristol City owner)

"The only thing that makes sense if I'm honest is a points deduction," he told BBC Points West.

"They ought to seriously consider it but I don't think that will happen as I don't think the EFL will be strong enough to do something like that. A fine would go someway towards showing it's not acceptable. Whatever happens we mustn't condone it."

"If he'd asked to send someone to watch our training we would have said no. And every other football club would say no. So why does he think it's acceptable to do it? However great a coach he is, it's the wrong thing to do. Poking around and skulking around a training ground is not part of the game."

Nathan Jones (Stoke City, Leeds' opponents on Saturday)

"I would love to sit down and chat with Marcelo because he is a very good football person. I would invite him down to watch our training sessions if he wanted to come down here.

"What he does is thorough and it's good work but we do that. We gather information, watch clips and I spend hours with the analysts. It's not revolutionary, it's probably just the first time someone has done a presentation on it."

Alex Neil (Preston)

"To get a PowerPoint presentation put together about stuff that's pretty basic - and then the furore that's gone with it - is quite funny to people in football," Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"I just think it's bizarre. The general public and media think we turn up, play five-a-sides and then go home. So when you do get exposed to it and get a taste of it, all of a sudden it seems ground-breaking. Everybody else in football is looking at it thinking 'yeah, we do the same'."

Tony Mowbray (Blackburn)

Mowbray admitted their preparation was 'just part of the game' and said it did not stop Blackburn who beat Leeds 2-1 earlier in the season: "Danny Graham came right through the middle against someone who was a mismatch physically and headed the ball in the net. I'm not sure how they missed that in training because we worked pretty hard on that."

Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton)

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates on the touchline
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates on the touchline

"So you got a tactical lesson from him? That's nice."

Earlier in the week, the Austrian said: "Yeah, it's normal in Germany. We could because it was open to the public.

“You send the guys there and you could see who was training, who wasn't, and if there was a new coach you could see what he was doing from the beginning. But it was open to the public so everyone could do it. I wasn't standing there myself, but I did send spies there. 'Spies' if you want, or just normal visitors.

“In Germany it's a little bit easier because they love public training sessions, so it's not a problem to spy on such training sessions. But there are still a few training sessions that are without the public and there it also happens that sometimes you have to pick someone out of the woods behind the pitch!

“But it's good I think that in England they're signalling that it's unsporting and unfair, and it won't happen in the future if the fine is high. People will see that it doesn't make any sense to take that risk.

“I also have had sessions that were spied on by other clubs and so I think that if they're sending a signal that it's unfair and unsporting then it's something I can agree with, absolutely.”


Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC

Related football links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Football

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package1

Friday night Premier League tips

Friday Night Football returns in the Premier League with not one but two matches taking place under the floodlights.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages2

Paper Talk: Chelsea Icardi interest

Chelsea and Real Madrid are both in Mauro Icardi after he was stripped of the Inter Milan captaincy.

Ryan Giggs3

‘United's worst case scenario!’

Ryan Giggs, speaking exclusively to Sporting Life, discusses Manchester United v Liverpool and the current state of the Premier League title race.

Olivier Giroud celebrates a goal for Chelsea4

Welcome win for Sarri's Blues

Maurizio Sarri enjoyed the perfect confidence boost ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final as Chelsea beat Malmo 3-0 to make the last 16 of the Europa League.

Sokratis and Aubameyang celebrate for Arsenal5

Europa League review

Arsenal safely negotiated their way into the last 16 of the Europa League with a 3-0 win over BATE Borisov at the Emirates, while Celtic went out in Valencia.

Football Tips

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package

Friday night Premier League tips

Friday Night Football returns in the Premier League with not one but two matches taking place under the floodlights.

Sergio Aguero (right) celebrates his hat-trick for Manchester City against Arsenal

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in February 2019.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.