Pep Guardiola has admitted that he was involved in spying during his time in Europe with Barcelona and Bayern Munich – but insisted that he would not repeat the act at Manchester City.
Investigations have been launched by the FA and Football League into Leeds United’s ‘spygate’ incident before their Championship clash with Derby County, after Marcelo Bielsa admitted that he sent a member of staff to Derby’s training ground prior to the game.
Happy Birthday Pep Guardiola
Look at all those trophies…
— Goal (@goal) January 18, 2019
Bielsa also revealed that he had spied on all of Leeds’ opponents this term during a recent press conference, but Guardiola insisted that he has no plans for his current side to practice such methods. The City boss said, via the Telegraph: “In other countries everybody does that.
“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 leagues.
“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. [But] I am not going to send anyone to spy on Huddersfield!”
Asked whether that culture was different to his current environment in England, Guardiola added: “I don’t know. It is more difficult [to do here]. It [training] is private. It is closed. But in all the countries I have been before, everybody does it.”
Bielsa admitted that he once sent Guardiola his extensive analysis of the Spaniard’s Barcelona team as a gift following the Catalan side’s 3-0 victory over Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final in 2012.
Guardiola apparently responded at the time by telling Bielsa: “You know more about Barcelona than me!” The City boss confirmed the story, and insisted that the recent ‘spygate’ incident had not changed his respect for Bielsa.
“Barcelona was a bunker – it was impossible to look at us, like it is here [at City], but that story is true,” Guardiola added. “I didn’t see the whole press conference [from Bielsa] but I saw the highlights.
“My respect [for him] remains the same. He was clear in his statement. I admired what he did in the past. Why should I change my opinion? I know him a little bit. My opinion remains the same. I understand [Derby manager] Frank Lampard’s position too.
“No manager has the amount of information he [Bielsa] produces for every single game, for every single player and every single movement. It is unique what he does.
“I cannot talk about what the other managers do but the truth is everybody wants to know everything, not just in football but in society.
“They want to see what happens with this person or the gossip about this man or that man. Everyone is curious about what other people say.”
City will continue their push to retain the Premier League title as the champions travel to face Huddersfield on Sunday, with Guardiola’s side currently trailing leaders Liverpool.