Frank Lampard has tried his best to keep his side focused on tomorrow’s Championship play-off semi-final first leg clash against Leeds, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.
The football gods have thrown up a cracker by pitting the two sides against each other at such a crucial stage, after the angst between the two sides earlier this season based on Spygate.
But Lampard has moved to try and diffuse that, saying: “It doesn’t matter at all going into this game. It will matter for the fans – that’s the beauty of rivalry in football. But we have to make sure we don’t get caught up with that.
“An old story should have no bearing on how the team performs. Now I’m a manager, I understand the pressures. People have different styles. But I do respect someone who has had a career like he’s (Bielsa) had – and that doesn’t change.”
Lampard is wise to try and take the sting out of this situation because it really looked as if it impacted Derby’s preparation and focus last time around, when they lost 2-0.
It’s difficult to escape the fact that there will be an extra edge to the match though – not least due to the atmosphere generated by both sets of fans.