Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis delivers verdict on Leeds United's Marcelo Bielsa and 'spygate'

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis.

Tony Pulis has defended Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa following last week's 'spygate' scandal, with the Boro boss claiming 'it's always going on'.

Boro sit fifth in the Championship ahead of this weekend's home game with Millwall, eight points behind league leaders Leeds.

Many managers and pundits have criticised Bielsa for sending a spy to Derby County's training ground ahead of the Championship fixture last weekend.

The Leeds boss has been incredibly open about the whole situation, claiming it wasn't the first time he had asked someone to spy on an opposition training session.

Pulis was asked about the situation in his pre-match press conference but didn't suggest Bielsa had done anything wrong.

"Bialsea has got to do what he's got to do as a manager," said Pulis when asked about the story.

"I think Leeds have got to deal with it the way they feel right to deal with it, then you bring the authorities into it and see what they say, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

"Personally, I've been in the game a long, long time and I can remember being at Gillingham and ringing people up at other clubs to see what team they would play or you'd ring a press man in that area.

"It's always going on, there's always been managers and everybody up and down the country, especially the experienced ones, who didn't watch and didn't have the opportunities to watch the games we've got today.

Bielsa also gave an extensive PowerPoint presentation to members of the press earlier this week, revealing how Leeds have prepared for every game this season.

Yet Pulis doesn't believe that is anything new.

"Today we have so many games televised, I've got two sports analysts that I've had for years and they pick absolutely everything out of every game against opposition we're playing against.

"I had 10 years in the premiership and we had to squeeze every pip out of every player at every club I was at.

Pulis was amused by the 'spygate' story but says it's now up to the authorises to decide the consequences.

"It's absolutely ridiculous to think that Bielsa is the only person in the world that is doing this, it's there," added Pulis.

"What's happened there is crazy, how can you send a person in a Leeds tracksuit and wire cutters to another training ground, he's got to start watching some spy movies I think.

"But joking apart, Bielsa has been very honest with it, it's up to Leeds and the authorities now."

Pulis is also hopeful Boro can bring in one or two more players before the end of the January transfer window.

The Teessiders signed winger Rajiv van La Parra on loan from Huddersfield at the start of the month, but have struggled to add new recruits since.

"We’ve still got two weeks to go, let’s see what comes between now and the end of the month," said Pulis when asked about possible signings.

"We have targets out there and we’ll be trying to get them if we can.

"I don’t like talking about individual targets who are at other clubs. You have to respect the process when two clubs are talking."