'It's very common': Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez reacts to Leeds United's 'spygate' scandal

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez says it's 'very common' for clubs to spy on each other in Italy.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez says it's 'very common' for clubs to spy on each other in Italy.

Sending spies to watch other teams train is 'very common' in other countries, according to Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.

In the wake of the recent 'spygate' scandal involving Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa, several managers have been asked about their experiences on the subject.

Following his side's victory over Derby, Bielsa admitted he had sent a spy to watch the Rams' training sessions in the week leading up to the game.

The story has divided opinion between managers and pundits in the media but Benitez, who has managed in both Italy and Spain, doesn't see an issue.

"I have been in the game for a while. We have software and videos and everything. We have scouts around the world and we have friends everywhere, so everyone is working behind the scenes trying to prepare for games," said Benitez.

“No we have a lot of videos, a lot of possibilities to watch the other games without going there.

“I worked in Italy and in Italy, you have spies everywhere, so it';s something that was very common and it's not a surprise. It's fine.

“I haven't done this because I don't need to do it now. We have a lot of possibilities now to watch games to prepare for games, and it's quite simple now."

Benitez believes it's much easier to use other resources rather than sending a spy to watch an opposition's training session.

Even so, it's something which the Spaniard has encountered when managing abroad.

“When I was in the Academy at Real Madrid, I was going to watch the games in normal stadiums. In Spain, you have the journalists there with us at the training sessions, so you didn't need spies because everybody was watching the training sessions.

“What happened later on, they started building fences and you couldn't see because everybody wanted to keep the information secret.

“But in Italy... you can go to the internet now and check about one of the spies who was in a tree and they caught him with binoculars – that was very common.

“It's something that we used to have. You keep your cards close to your chest and that's it.