Sweet revenge for Frank Lampard and Derby County
Rams manager endures taunts and chants to inspire side to reach play-off final
Derby County manager Frank Lampard admitted that revenge was sweet, after his side defeated Leeds United 4-3 on aggregate yesterday morning (Singapore time) to progress to the Championship play-off final.
Lampard had lost to Leeds on all three previous occasions this season, including the first leg (1-0), and was being goaded by the home support as Derby trailed 2-0 on aggregate, the Daily Mail reported.
A chant, to the tune of Oasis' Stop Crying Your Heart Out, had been adapted by Leeds fans to Stop Crying Frank Lampard, in reference to the Derby boss' complaints about "Spygate" earlier this season.
"I'm not going to lie because it is," Lampard, 40, said, when he was asked if revenge was extra sweet that his side overcame Leeds to reach the May 27 final at Wembley.
"I heard a lot of people saying that we were crying about Spygate, but we weren't crying over that incident. I haven't thought about that in a long time."
Leeds took the lead in the 24th minute when Stuart Dallas scored, but the Rams respondedwith goals from Jack Marriott, Mason Mount and Harry Wilson to lead 3-1 on the night.
Dallas reduced the deficit in the 62nd minute, but Leeds had their work cut out for them when Gaetano Berardi got sent off for a second booking.
Marriot sealed Derby's passage to Wembley, where they will face Aston Villa, when he got his second five minutes from time. Scott Malone was also sent off for a second caution in injury time but, by then, it was a little too late for Marcelo Bielsa's side.
Lampard praised his players for their part in the victory, but also said he had inspired them ahead of their dramatic comeback win.
"We were 1-0 down (from the first leg), I said to the lads everyone had written us off," the former Chelsea and England player told Sky Sports.
"It's 1/8 for them to go through or something. Everyone says they've beaten us three times, but we made a little tweak and it worked brilliantly, but you need bravery on the ball and the lads showed it.
BIELSA'S FUTURE IN DOUBT
"The players deserve it. We were the better team over two legs... It was a brilliant performance from the lads.
"But there's work to do, this isn't the end, we're underdogs again and we'll have a tough game against a brilliant Villa team, but we're there."
Meanwhile, Bielsa has accepted responsibility for his team's failure to qualify for the play-off final, saying the defeat has raised doubts about his future as manager.
Bielsa, whose contract runs until the end of the 2019-20 season, was coy about his future when asked if he would stay at the club, Reuters reported.
"There have been mistakes that lead to doubts about the head coach," the 63-year-old Argentinian said.
"It's not convenient to talk about this point right now.
"You know about this process. If the club offer me the possibility to carry on, I will listen to their proposal."
Bielsa's side were top of the Championship in February, but finished third behind Norwich City and Sheffield United, which consigned them to the play-off battle for the final promotion spot for the English Premier League.
"If you have the resources to reach something and you don't, if you have the possibility to reach the goal and you don't, I have to assume the worst possibility," Bielsa said.
"I couldn't find a solution... and it's my job to find solutions. There was a loss of control. As managers, we should provide a solution, giving strong structures, but we had 20 minutes of disorder."