Derby County manager Frank Lampard has refused to rise to the bait deployed by Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis, showing class and drive ahead of the final game of the season.

In what seems like mind games, Tony Pulis has been very vocal ahead of this weekend. He told reporters how his rivals have spent fortunes this season, including Derby County. The Derby Telegraph quote the Welshman as saying:

The playing staff has been reduced by about nine, and that’s got us into a position where we’re in line with all the Financial Fair Play regulations. We’ve done all of that, and still have a chance of getting into the play-offs. If you look at the other side; Derby have spent a fortune and Aston Villa have spent a fortune.

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Pulis’s comments come as both Derby and Aston Villa hold the final two playoff positions ahead of the season finale. Villa are home and dry, while a win for the Rams will secure sixth spot ahead of Boro in seventh.

When the comments were pushed Lampard’s way, the Derby Telegraph quote how the Derby boss refused to be drawn into the squabble. Instead, the former Chelsea midfielder remained focused on the on-field issues ahead of Sunday’s clash with West Bromwich Albion.

It’s not my business how Middlesbrough spend their money. My business is how my team play and the minute I start talking too deeply about finances is the minute you should bring in the chief exec and ask him. It’s my job to focus on the pitch, focus on how we play and focus on the results that we can get.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

How Derby County have profited from Middlesbrough’s short-comings:

Lampard knows the capabilities of fourth-placed West Brom this weekend. Rather than worrying about playoff hopefuls Boro and Bristol City down in eighth, the Derby boss is letting others do the talking.

Middlesbrough thought they had a playoff spot sewn up. However, six straight defeats allowed those below them to catch up and Pulis is now paying the price. Simply put, Boro haven’t scored enough goals this season to warrant a promotion push, netting just 47 times.

The former Stoke City boss may genuinely feel his rivals have had a financial edge this season. Yet, perhaps Pulis should look closer to home as the reason behind his side failing to meet their pre-season expectations.

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Also see: ‘It’s happened again’: Some rival fans mock Derby County’s draw at Swansea City.

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