Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa is currently being investigated by The Football Association and the English Football League after admitting that he sent spies to watch their opponents Derby County train.
Bielsa admitted to spying on Derby after Leeds overcame Frank Lampard’s side 2-0 in a Championship game last weekend and since then the Argentine has taken a lot of flak for his antics.
This week, the Leeds manager even held an extraordinary news conference where he explained to journalists how deeply he and his staff analysed each game and admitted to spying on every one of Leeds opponents so far.
Since then the 63-year-old manager has been heavily criticised for his antics and now Tottenham manager Pochettino has also admitted that Bielsa’s actions were wrong.
Pochettino who has credited Bielsa with kickstarting his footballing career and has previously referred to Bielsa as a “second father” (Guardian) said he was saddened by the whole incident.
The 46-year-old, however, said that this incident doesn’t affect his “love” for Bielsa.
As a part of the pre-match press conference ahead of Spurs’ game against Fulham, Pochettino told Football London: “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 Frank Lampard’s feelings. It’s a thing that’s not easy to explain.”
Pochettino felt that Bielsa’s actions weren’t in keeping with the spirit of British football culture and said he completely disagreed with his former manager about the incident.
He added, “For me, always when I talk about England, about the organisation and culture you have here, since I signed for Southampton from six years ago today – and I don’t want to forget that today is Pep’s birthday, Happy Birthday Pep –– for any manager the key is to work in an environment you create.”
“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. That makes us feel more responsible to keep the idea that you can work, feel at home and you don’t need to hide anything.”
“There’s many opinions we can listen to after last week. To be honest, my feeling is a little sad. 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.”
The Tottenham manager however refused to term Bielsa’s antics as cheating. When asked if the Leeds manager had cheated, Pochettino added: “I’m not going to judge him. I don’t like to judge people. Only under my values can I judge that situation.”
“I’m never going to do that. For me, that’s wrong. It’s in his mind, his values, his act and only he knows if he tried to cheat or not. I cannot talk for him.”
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