London (AFP) – Frank Lampard said he wanted to put his “spygate” spat with Marcelo Bielsa behind him ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Leeds at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Lampard and Bielsa will face off for the first time since the 2019 play-offs in the second-tier Championship, when Derby, then managed by Lampard, beat Leeds at the end of a turbulent campaign.
Bielsa sent a member of staff to spy on Lampard’s Derby in training in January 2019, later admitting he had snooped on every club he had faced.
The Argentine was forced to pay an English Football League fine of £200,000 ($270,000).
But Lampard, who was highly critical of Bielsa at the time, has joined the Leeds boss in attempting to dampen down any talk of a lingering feud.
“It’s in the past, I’m certainly not going to dwell on it going into this game,” Lampard said on Friday.
“I’d rather dwell on the respect I have for him as a coach. It was a great news story, it had a lot to it, and now it’s gone.
“And again I just look at him and how well he did — he brought Leeds up the year after.”
Lampard, whose side could go top of the table with a win, said he could not guarantee Olivier Giroud a starting spot despite his stunning four-goal haul in the Champions League win at Sevilla this week.
World Cup winner Giroud knows he must play as much as possible ahead of next year’s European Championships to cement his position with France.
Despite six goals so far this season, he has yet to start a Premier League match for Chelsea.
“All you want is the players when they are out of the team to train well, get themselves in the team and perform like Oli did the other day,” said Lampard.
“And of course that gives me nice problems as such.”
“Tammy Abraham has been playing very well for us this season, scoring goals and making assists,” he added.
“He brings attributes, Olivier, as he showed the other night, brings his attributes, so that’s great competition for me.”
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