Leeds United: Marcelo Bielsa's rival managers have their say on 'spygate'
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa may have wowed fans and journalists with Wednesday's hour-long tactical presentation, but his rival Championship managers have played down his level of analysis as "basic".
The Argentine called an unscheduled news conference on Wednesday to address the ongoing 'spygate' saga, admitting he has sent a member of staff to watch every team they have faced this season in training.
But his presentation to the gathered media, who sat in amazement as he demonstrated how much preparation he and his staff carry out on each opponent, has not impressed his fellow bosses.
"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," Preston North End manager Alex 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'."
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Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray said Leeds' preparation was "not too dissimilar to ours" and "just part of the game" - and even questioned Bielsa's tactical work before their match at Ewood Park in October, which Rovers won 2-1.
"Danny Graham came right through the middle against someone who was a mismatch physically and headed the ball in the net," explained Mowbray. "I'm not sure how they missed that in training because we worked pretty hard on that."
Such is the work that goes on behind the scenes, both Mowbray and Reading manager Jose Gomes cited a lack of sleep for their respective analysts, while Derby County boss Frank Lampard claimed "there's no amazement from anyone who works in football."
Ralph Hasenhuttl, manager of Premier League side Southampton, was perhaps most cutting when he said: "So you got a tactical lesson from him? That's nice."
When Leeds scouted Southend - before a friendly
Managers throughout the English Football League were questioned about 'spygate' during their weekly pre-match news conferences on Thursday, with some going into great detail and others refusing to comment at all.
Chris Powell's Southend United may not be in the same division as Leeds, but the former England full-back did share a remarkable story from when the two teams met in pre-season.
"Our very first pre-season game was against Great Wakering and before the match I had a phone call from a member of the Leeds staff asking if they could come to watch the game," Powell, whose side are 12th in League One, told BBC Essex.
"I said 'of course you can, it's open to the public so you can pay to get in'. They said 'no, we want to watch to see what you do'.
"So they came along to watch, but then when we played Leeds we didn't have numbers on our shirts and they didn't like it. They felt they didn't know our players from scouting them in the Great Wakering game.
"It does show you what their thinking is. They don't want to be caught out, but if they can get any information it sounds like they'll do it."
What did other Championship managers say?
Pundits, journalists and fans alike have been at odds over the rights and wrongs of Bielsa's conduct - and now Championship bosses have been having their say too.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert agreed with Mowbray's assessment that 'spying' was "not right", while Hull City boss Nigel Adkins reflected that "you can't keep secrets in football anymore."
Sheffield United's Chris Wilder described the 63-year-old ex-Argentina coach as a "maverick", but could not get too excited about the whole thing.
"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."
Nobody was more nonplussed about Bielsa's conduct, however, than Swansea City manager Graham Potter.
"I have no problem with it," he said. "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."