Zenit 3-0 Celtic (3-1 agg): Visitors crash out of Europe

At the height of the Second World War, the siege of Leningrad is believed to have lasted some 872 days.

In the city that’s subsequently been named St Petersburg, the resistance of Brendan Rodgers and his Celtic players proved to be rather more feeble on Thursday night.

By the end of hugely disappointing affair, the small pocket of travelling fans were entitled to feel they’d sat through this dreary old movie a few times. 

Aleksandr Kokorin sucks his thumb after scoring Zenit's third in their victory over Celtic

Aleksandr Kokorin sucks his thumb after scoring Zenit's third in their victory over Celtic

Aleksandr Kokorin sucks his thumb after scoring Zenit’s third in their victory over Celtic

The striker tapped home from close range as Zenit dumped Celtic out of the Europa League

The striker tapped home from close range as Zenit dumped Celtic out of the Europa League

The striker tapped home from close range as Zenit dumped Celtic out of the Europa League

It was a stark contrast in emotions as Zenit's joy was set among a backdrop of Celtic misery

It was a stark contrast in emotions as Zenit's joy was set among a backdrop of Celtic misery

It was a stark contrast in emotions as Zenit’s joy was set among a backdrop of Celtic misery

MATCH FACTS 

Zenit St Petersburg: Lunev, Ivanovic (Smolnikov 87), Mammana, Criscito, Mevlja, Kranevitter, Rigoni (Driussi 84), Paredes, Kuzyaev, Kokorin, Zabolotny (Erokhin 76). 

Subs not used: Lodygin, Terentjev, Poloz, Zhirkov.

Booked: Paredes, Kuzyaev

Goals: Ivanovic 8, Kuzyayev 27, Kokorin 61

Celtic: De Vries, Tierney, Ajer, Simunovic, Lustig, Ntcham, Brown, Kouassi (Rogic 45), McGregor (Sinclair 62), Forrest (Musonda 71), Dembele.

Subs not used: Bain, Hendry, Edouard, Miller.

Booked: Kouassi, Dembele

Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Spain)

After all the promise of the first leg, so many old failings were again their side’s undoing: A lack of poise and concentration. The loss of an early goal. An inability to take one of the few half chances that came their way. Progress at this level does not seem to come easy.

No one expected finishing the job to be in any way straight-forward but Zenit rather cruised through to the last 16, the Scots simply unable to lay a glove on them.

The cohesion and belief Celtic had shown in winning the first game in Glasgow was conspicuous by its absence. So too was the high-press which seemed to rattle the Russians. With the exception of Olivier Ntcham and James Forrest, no one in a hooped shirt really did themselves justice.

It was a particularly painful affair for Dorus de Vries. The Dutch keeper needed a big display here to lay claim to Craig Gordon’s jersey in the longer term but a poor attempt to deny Daler Kuzyaev Zenit’s second will not help his cause.

By that stage, though, the cracks were long evident. Branislav Ivanovic’s headed opener inside eight minutes was claimed with embarrassing ease.

Celtic rallied to an extent after the break but by the time Aleksandr Kokorin added a third just after the hour they had shown little sign of finding their cutting edge.

Brendan Rodgers (centre) watched on as his Celtic side began the second leg with a 1-0 lead

Brendan Rodgers (centre) watched on as his Celtic side began the second leg with a 1-0 lead

Brendan Rodgers (centre) watched on as his Celtic side began the second leg with a 1-0 lead

Celtic left back Kieran Tierney drills in a low cross into the box during the early exchanges

Celtic left back Kieran Tierney drills in a low cross into the box during the early exchanges

Celtic left back Kieran Tierney drills in a low cross into the box during the early exchanges

Celtic's first-leg lead lasted just eight minutes in the return clash thanks to Branislav Ivanovic

Celtic's first-leg lead lasted just eight minutes in the return clash thanks to Branislav Ivanovic

Celtic’s first-leg lead lasted just eight minutes in the return clash thanks to Branislav Ivanovic

The Zenit defender headed the hosts level on aggregate with this thumping effort

The Zenit defender headed the hosts level on aggregate with this thumping effort

The Zenit defender headed the hosts level on aggregate with this thumping effort

The former Chelsea man wheels away in celebration after his header flew past Doris de Vries

The former Chelsea man wheels away in celebration after his header flew past Doris de Vries

The former Chelsea man wheels away in celebration after his header flew past Doris de Vries

The birthday boy, who turned 34 on Thursday, was promptly mobbed by his team-mates

The birthday boy, who turned 34 on Thursday, was promptly mobbed by his team-mates

The birthday boy, who turned 34 on Thursday, was promptly mobbed by his team-mates

Truthfully, Rodgers’ men were well beaten in the end. Any belief that the ring-rust that had beset Roberto Mancini’s men in Glasgow would last another week proved to be wishful thinking.

The prospect of a second successive Treble, with the next stop Pittodrie on Sunday, means they won’t have much time for reflection but on the long flight home on Thursday night they will have considered how distant the latter stages of European competitions can seem on such nights.

What a curious backdrop the Krestovsky Stadium made. Although a jaw-dropping spectacular structure, its heated interior – keeping out the minus 14 degree cold – gave it a surreal feel.

With the match nowhere near a sell-out, the noise rather bounced off its retractable roof. For all the world, it felt like a gargantuan swimming pool.

Having presided over the near perfect European performance last week, the unchanged line-up Rodgers named surprised no one. Ivanovic returning for Zenit at right back but that was the only alteration to Mancini’s side.

It took the former Chelsea man just eight minutes to make an indelible mark on the contest. Just as Celtic seemed to be easing their way in, Leandro Paredes’ low curler from the edge of the box forced De Vries to turn the ball away for a corner.

It was comedic defending thereafter. Paredes’ out-swinger along the six-yard line found Kristoffer Ajer blocked of at the far post and Jozo Simunovic oblivious to the impending danger. Rising unchallenged, Ivanovic’s planted header found the top corner and, in the blink of an eye, Callum McGregor’s first-leg goal had been cancelled out.

Celtic captain Scott Brown vies for the ball with Ivanovic during the first half of the last-32 tie

Celtic captain Scott Brown vies for the ball with Ivanovic during the first half of the last-32 tie

Celtic captain Scott Brown vies for the ball with Ivanovic during the first half of the last-32 tie

Zenit took the lead on aggregate on 29 minutes when Daler Kuzyayev (centre) scored

Zenit took the lead on aggregate on 29 minutes when Daler Kuzyayev (centre) scored

Zenit took the lead on aggregate on 29 minutes when Daler Kuzyayev (centre) scored

His long-range strike proved too much for De Vries - who will be upset at not stopping the shot

His long-range strike proved too much for De Vries - who will be upset at not stopping the shot

His long-range strike proved too much for De Vries – who will be upset at not stopping the shot

But the Zenit players wouldn't have cared as they celebrated wildly their second goal

But the Zenit players wouldn't have cared as they celebrated wildly their second goal

But the Zenit players wouldn’t have cared as they celebrated wildly their second goal

The important thing from Celtic’s perspective was not to concede a second in short order. Kokorin, anonymous in Glasgow, looked set to do just that until De Vries belatedly marched from his line to claim a troubling ball over the top.

Paredes, the £25million Argentinian, was running the show. He drew a foul from McGregor 30 yards from goal and took command of the dead ball situation. De Vries was relieved to see it graze the roof of his net.

Celtic’s occasional promise on the counter attack tended to fall down either through a lack of a final ball or Zenit’s cynicism. Kuzyaev and Paredes had their names taken, both for crunching fouls on James Forrest.

It took 27 minutes for the turnaround to be completed. Again, the manner of the concession was meek.

Working a short throw-in, Anton Zabolotny found Kuzyaev advanced but posing no obvious threat. As he rolled the ball onto his right foot 25 yards out, still the danger seemed remote.

It was a decent strike but was eminently saveable. De Vries knew as much as soon as the ball flew past his outstretched left arm on route to the back of the net. So much for avenging the seven goals he lost in the Nou Camp last season. A truly disastrous night was now in danger of unfolding.

Eboue Kouassi didn’t help matters by becoming the third booking of the night for a rash challenge on Zenit skipper Domenico Cristico. With that went the Ivorian’s composure. 

James Forrest (right) was Celtic's one bright attacking spark before he was substituted

James Forrest (right) was Celtic's one bright attacking spark before he was substituted

James Forrest (right) was Celtic’s one bright attacking spark before he was substituted

Roberto Mancini barks out some instructions to his Zenit side as the match unfolds

Roberto Mancini barks out some instructions to his Zenit side as the match unfolds

Roberto Mancini barks out some instructions to his Zenit side as the match unfolds

Only Moussa Dembele’s stationing on the near post prevented Emiliano Rigoni scoring a third directly from a corner. The interval didn’t arrive a moment too soon for the visitors.

To the surprise of no one, Tom Rogic replaced Kouassi during it. The Australian made a telling introduction by feeding Ntcham only for the Frenchman to rather panic and drag a decent chance wide of the far post.

Celtic were at least asking questions. When Forrest won a corner after dazzling Criscito down the right, Ntcham’s corner gave Ajer half a chance of landing the all-important goal. Alas, the Norwegian couldn’t get sufficient purchase on the header.

Sensing a glimmer of hope, Rodgers’ summoned Scott Sinclair to replace McGregor. But before the switch could be made, the tie was effectively over.

Simunovic did well to repel an initial cross by Zabolotny only for the ball to land at Ivanovic’s feet. The Serbian’s low cross was menacing. Mikael Lustig didn’t spot Kokorin running off his shoulder and the Russian international buried the chance from four yards.

We’d seen 68 minutes elapse before Andrei Lunev was forced to make a meaningful save. It stemmed from excellent wing play by Forrest. Ntcham’s consequent strike was much too central, though.

Forrest then bowed out with Charly Musonda representing Rodgers’ last throw of the dice.

Rogic and Sinclair did succeed in warming Lunev’s gloves but they never truly stretched Zenit’s custodian. After all the promise of the first leg, that rather typified Celtic’s night.

Spartak Moscow fans clash with police and shoot fireworks

Spartak Moscow fans were involved in violent clashes with Basque riot police before their Europa League last-32 clash with Athletic Bilbao on Thursday night.

Around 2,500 Russian fans were expected to travel toSpain for the game with Bilbao said to be enforcing the biggest security operation the city has ever seen in the build-up.

But it failed to stop disorder breaking out, with footage emerging of fireworks being shot in the streets. 

Police officers detain a man during clashes before Athletic Bilbao vs Spartak Moscow

Police officers detain a man during clashes before Athletic Bilbao vs Spartak Moscow

Police officers detain a man during clashes before Athletic Bilbao vs Spartak Moscow

Fireworks were shown being fired in the streets of the Spanish city before Thursday's game

Fireworks were shown being fired in the streets of the Spanish city before Thursday's game

Fireworks were shown being fired in the streets of the Spanish city before Thursday’s game

Around 2,000 Russian fans were said to be travelling to Bilbao for the Europa League tie

Around 2,000 Russian fans were said to be travelling to Bilbao for the Europa League tie

Around 2,000 Russian fans were said to be travelling to Bilbao for the Europa League tie

One riot police officer is reported to have been hospitalised and is in a serious condition, although his life is not thought to be in danger.

Around 700 police and a further 200 private security guards were said to be in place in the city and at the San Mames Stadium to prevent violence breaking out. 

Spartak even put out an appeal to their supporters in the build-up to the game, asking them not to rise to ‘possible provocation’.

‘We ask that you are extremely courteous and polite in Bilbao and other Spanish cities en route,’ it read. ‘Do not succumb to provocation and do not enter into conflict with local residents, ultras or agents of public security.’

A Russian hooligan wanted for savagely attacking an England fan during Euro 2016 in France was arrested on his way to the game in Bilbao on Thursday.

French authorities had for months been seeking the suspect, who along with several other Russian hooligans, is accused of attacking England fan Andrew Bache ahead of the Russia-England match in Marseille.

Police officers clash with supporters during riots prior to the game on Thursday evening

Police officers clash with supporters during riots prior to the game on Thursday evening

Police officers clash with supporters during riots prior to the game on Thursday evening

Basque riot police were involved in trying to quell the disorder among the fans in the streets

Basque riot police were involved in trying to quell the disorder among the fans in the streets

Basque riot police were involved in trying to quell the disorder among the fans in the streets

Video posted online gave an insight into the trouble before the Athletic Bilbao match

Video posted online gave an insight into the trouble before the Athletic Bilbao match

Video posted online gave an insight into the trouble before the Athletic Bilbao match

Bache, 51, from Portsmouth, was left paralysed on the left-hand side of his body after being hit around the head with an iron bar on June 11, 2016.

In a statement on Thursday, police in Germany said they detained ‘the wanted man’ on his arrival in Erdinger Moos from Moscow.

It added that the 31-year-old, who was not named, risks up to 15 years in jail in France for attempted homicide and grievous bodily harm.

He was arrested en route from Moscow to Bilbao.

Athletic drew 2-2 in the away leg in Russia to take an away-goal advantage back to the San Mames Stadium.

Riot police officers clash as they seek to break up groups of supporters in the streets

Riot police officers clash as they seek to break up groups of supporters in the streets

Riot police officers clash as they seek to break up groups of supporters in the streets

Riot police officers control a Spartak fan against the side of a van during the violence

Riot police officers control a Spartak fan against the side of a van during the violence

Riot police officers control a Spartak fan against the side of a van during the violence

Gabriel Jesus pictured back in training for the first time

Gabriel Jesus has been pictured training for the first time since returning from his knee injury that kept him on the sidelines since New Year’s Eve.

The Brazilian striker suffered medial collateral ligament damage during Manchester City’s draw at Crystal Palace but is now ready to make his comeback.

Pep Guardiola‘s side trained on Thursday afternoon ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final with Arsenal.

Gabriel Jesus pictured training for the first time since returning from serious knee injury

Gabriel Jesus pictured training for the first time since returning from serious knee injury

Gabriel Jesus pictured training for the first time since returning from serious knee injury

In his absence, Sergio Aguero's been in fine form and was named January's Player of the Month

In his absence, Sergio Aguero's been in fine form and was named January's Player of the Month

In his absence, Sergio Aguero’s been in fine form and was named January’s Player of the Month

The Argentinian striker had his shooting boots on as he trained on Thursday afternoon

The Argentinian striker had his shooting boots on as he trained on Thursday afternoon

The Argentinian striker had his shooting boots on as he trained on Thursday afternoon

The current Premier League leaders will be hoping to bounce back against Arsene Wenger’s side following their shock exit from the FA Cup on Monday.

City crashed out following Will Grigg’s late winner, leaving hopes of a possible quadruple in the gutter. 

Following the defeat, Guardiola will be happy with Jesus’ return and Sergio Aguero’s recent form as the two will vie for spot in the starting XI.

Jesus is unlikely to feature for City at the weekend but there’s a small chance he could come on in a late cameo as continues his return to fitness.

Jesus (right) has a laugh with Lukas Nmecha (right centre) and Danilo during training

Jesus (right) has a laugh with Lukas Nmecha (right centre) and Danilo during training

Jesus (right) has a laugh with Lukas Nmecha (right centre) and Danilo during training

Nicolas Otamendi runs with the ball during a training session on Thursday afternoon

Nicolas Otamendi runs with the ball during a training session on Thursday afternoon

Claudio Bravo will be wanting to start in City's Carabao Cup final against Arsenal

Claudio Bravo will be wanting to start in City's Carabao Cup final against Arsenal

Nicolas Otamendi and Claudio Bravo will be hoping to start in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday

Kyle Walker volleys the ball during a chilly training session ahead of Sunday's cup final

Kyle Walker volleys the ball during a chilly training session ahead of Sunday's cup final

Kyle Walker volleys the ball during a chilly training session ahead of Sunday’s cup final

The 20-year-old forward admitted he was ‘very scared’ for his future as he continued with his rehab over the past couple of months.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Jesus said: ‘At the beginning, it was hard, but after I got used to the situation I convinced myself that all I could do was to recover in the best way possible, to come back well. 

‘Of course, in the first few days, it was awful, extremely bad. I was bad. I am thankful that my family were here to help me. They were very important.

‘In the last few days, I am feeling better and I am happier. I am recovering well. I keep going strong and each day recovering a bit more so I can return and be at my best.

‘A lot of bad thoughts go through my mind, especially when it comes to the knee, which is a very sensitive area. I had never felt any pain before in my knees so I was very scared.

‘It was a bad injury. I know they all are but it could have been worse. I am very thankful to God because despite what happened to me, it wasn’t the worst.’

January signing Aymeric Laporte plays a pass in cold conditions on Thursday afternoon

January signing Aymeric Laporte plays a pass in cold conditions on Thursday afternoon

January signing Aymeric Laporte plays a pass in cold conditions on Thursday afternoon

City could recall first-choice goalkeeper Ederson for Sunday's final against the Gunners

City could recall first-choice goalkeeper Ederson for Sunday's final against the Gunners

City could recall first-choice goalkeeper Ederson for Sunday’s final against the Gunners

Ilkay Gundogan (left) and Vincent Kompany (right) watch on during training on Thursday

Ilkay Gundogan (left) and Vincent Kompany (right) watch on during training on Thursday

Ilkay Gundogan (left) and Vincent Kompany (right) watch on during training on Thursday

Ali fears for Test cricket after ‘disappointing’ Ashes

Moeen Ali has expressed his fears for the future of Test cricket, suggesting even the Ashes is losing some of its magic after a ‘disappointing’ public reaction in Australia.

The all-rounder is back on England duty after being rested for the Twenty20 tri-series and is preparing for the one-day campaign against New Zealand, which begins in Hamilton on Sunday.

But it was the fate of the red-ball game which occupied his mind as he fielded questions at the team hotel in Auckland.

Moeen Ali claimed he was disappointed by the crowds that attended the Ashes series

Moeen Ali claimed he was disappointed by the crowds that attended the Ashes series

Moeen Ali claimed he was disappointed by the crowds that attended the Ashes series

Questioning the viability, the marketability or long-range prospects of the five-day format is hardly new – the sport has arguably been engaged in an extended existential crisis ever since T20 emerged on the scene – but the old rivalry between England and Australia has always been thought immune.

Moeen had a torrid series from a personal point of view as the tourists were outclassed 4-0, but he revealed the entire occasion had failed to live up to the hype.

‘It’s been a worry for a while but Australia really opened my eyes. I found it disappointing,’ he said of his first Test tour Down Under.

The all-rounder was part of the England side that was thrashed 4-0 by Australia down-under

The all-rounder was part of the England side that was thrashed 4-0 by Australia down-under

The all-rounder was part of the England side that was thrashed 4-0 by Australia down-under

‘I feared (for the future) in the Ashes, actually. The crowds were quite disappointing in general.

‘There were a couple of days – Boxing Day, the first day of the series – but even when they won the Ashes there weren’t that many people celebrating.

‘That’s when I thought, ‘Actually, we’re struggling a bit’. We’re very lucky in England – after being all around the world and seeing the crowds everywhere else, we’ve got the best fans, we’ve got full houses most of the time.

‘But I think the Big Bash had bigger crowds than the Ashes. That’s great for T20 but for Test matches it’s a massive worry.’

Ali criticised the Australian supporters for an unexpected disappointing Ashes turnout

Ali criticised the Australian supporters for an unexpected disappointing Ashes turnout

Ali criticised the Australian supporters for an unexpected disappointing Ashes turnout

Cricket Australia maintain that their nation still possess a strong passion for the Test game

Cricket Australia maintain that their nation still possess a strong passion for the Test game

Cricket Australia maintain that their nation still possess a strong passion for the Test game

Cricket Australia would be quick to point out it has considerably bigger stadia to fill than England and can rightly claim the series provided both a record attendance at the Adelaide Oval and a bumper crowd of 88,172 at the MCG on Boxing Day.

A spokesperson said: ‘The Magellan Ashes Series was attended by 866,732 people around the country, making it the second most attended Australian Test series on record, after the 1936-37 Ashes series (948,498), demonstrating the huge interest Test cricket continues to command.’

Yet Moeen’s words will still alarm those who see the primacy of Test being steadily eroded.

For now, it is back to 50-over cricket and a five-match series against the Black Caps.

Joining Moeen in returning from rest are Joe Root and Chris Woakes, while Ben Stokes is also pushing for a long-awaited comeback.

Ali also claimed having Ben Stokes back  is already helping the England squad

Ali also claimed having Ben Stokes back  is already helping the England squad

Ali also claimed having Ben Stokes back is already helping the England squad

It is five months since he last appeared for England but he is back with the team having pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.

‘Just having him back helps the team… having him in the changing room, his presence, the style he plays,’ Moeen said.

‘A lot of people can thrive off him. When we’ve got our best team out I feel we’re one of the best teams in the world and he’s a massive part of that. He can’t wait to get started and we can’t wait to have him back.’

Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 Nice: Balotelli hits crossbar TWICE

Lokomotiv Moscow (4-5-1): Guilherme; Ignatiev, Kvirkvelia, Pejcinovic, Rybus; Anton Miranchuk, Denisov, Fernandes, Farfan (Kolomeytsev 24), Ari (Eder 64); Aleksey Miranchuk (Tarasov 84)

Subs not used: Kochenkov, Corluka,  Rotenberg, Vitali Denisov

Goal: Denisov 30 

Nice (4-3-3): Benitez; Burner, Sarr, Dante, Perraud; Cyprien, Seri (Sacko 84), Lees-Melou; Saint-Maximin (Tameze 78), Balotelli, Plea (Makengo 79)

Subs not used: Cardinale, Srarfi, Mendy, Pelmard

Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic)

Puel reveals Leicester’s Wes Morgan is ready for return

  • Wes Morgan could make first Premier League appearance since New Year’s Day 
  • He lined up against Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round last Friday evening
  • Claude Puel has revealed he is in contention on Saturday but faces competition
  • Manager Puel also said striker Shinji Okazaki will resume full training next week 

Press Association Sport Staff

Leicester skipper Wes Morgan could make his first Premier League appearance since New Year’s Day against Stoke on Saturday after suffering no ill-effects on his return from injury.

The 34-year-old, who captained the Foxes to their shock title victory two seasons ago, lined up against Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round last Friday evening to signal the end of his lay-off with a hamstring problem.

Now manager Claude Puel has revealed he is in contention to resume in the league for the first time since the 3-0 win over Huddersfield on January 1, although he faces stiff competition.

Leicester's Wes Morgan could make his first Premier League appearance since New Year's Day

Leicester's Wes Morgan could make his first Premier League appearance since New Year's Day

Leicester’s Wes Morgan could make his first Premier League appearance since New Year’s Day

Puel said at his pre-match press conference: ‘[Morgan] is available to play this game – but after, we will see. We have a lot of games to come.

‘It is good to see our captain again at a good level. I was happy with [Aleksandar] Dragovic and [Yohan] Benalouane, for example.

‘We have a squad with good competition between players. All this competition pushes the players to bid for their place and it is a good thing.

Claude Puel has revealed he is in contention to resume in the league against Stoke on Saturday

Claude Puel has revealed he is in contention to resume in the league against Stoke on Saturday

Claude Puel has revealed he is in contention to resume in the league against Stoke on Saturday

‘It is important and, when available, he is a valuable player for us. But I am happy for all the players in the squad because we have good competition in defence, midfield and attack.’

Meanwhile, Puel also said striker Shinji Okazaki will resume full training next week after three weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.

He said: ‘Shinji comes back next week in normal training. Everybody else is fine.’

Morgan (left) lined up against Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round last Friday evening

Morgan (left) lined up against Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round last Friday evening

Morgan (left) lined up against Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round last Friday evening

Brentford manager Dean Smith signs contract extension

  • Brentford manager Dean Smith has extended his contract at Griffin Park 
  • Smith’s new deal will keep him at the club until the summer of 2020 
  • The Bees are 10th in the Championship and four points away from the play-offs  

Tom Farmery For Mailonline

Brentford manager Dean Smith has extended his contract at Griffin Park, which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2020.

Smith, who took charge in November 2015, has the Bees sitting in 10th in the Championship this season and four points away from the play-off places.

He was under pressure at the start of the campaign after recording just one win in 11 league games.

Brentford manager Dean Smith has extended his contract at the club until the summer of 2020

Brentford manager Dean Smith has extended his contract at the club until the summer of 2020

Brentford manager Dean Smith has extended his contract at the club until the summer of 2020

Smith said he was happy to be trusted by Brentford owner Matthew Benham to keep moving the club in the right direction.

‘It’s really pleasing,’ he said. ‘It didn’t take us too long to sort it all out to be honest. I’m happy the club wanted to extend it and we are happy to stay as well.

‘We’ve got a great working relationship and we feel that we’re all progressing as coaches and people, and we feel the club’s progressing.’

Smith’s assistants, Richard O’Kelly and Thomas Frank, have also had their deals with the club extended. 

Smith has led Brentford to 10th in the table this season and four points off the play-offs

Smith has led Brentford to 10th in the table this season and four points off the play-offs

Smith has led Brentford to 10th in the table this season and four points off the play-offs

Watford boss warns Doucoure over transfer speculation

Watford manager Javi Gracia has told midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure to just concentrate on playing well for the rest of the season rather than worrying about what club he might leave for in the summer.

Doucoure has impressed for the Hornets this season, which started out under former boss Marco Silva, scoring seven Premier League goals.

While a guest on a French television channel, the 25-year-old, who joined from Rennes in 2016, said that the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal were all ‘interested in me’, before maintaining he wanted to finish the season well to help secure Watford’s top-flight place.

Abdoulaye Doucoure has been warned by his boss Javi Gracia to concentrate on his football

Abdoulaye Doucoure has been warned by his boss Javi Gracia to concentrate on his football

Abdoulaye Doucoure has been warned by his boss Javi Gracia to concentrate on his football

Gracia, who was appointed at the end of January, insists there has been no talk about anything other than the job in hand at Watford – which sees Premier League action resume at home against Everton on Saturday.

‘I have spoken with him about the movement when we play against Everton, but not about that,’ the Watford manager said at a press conference, as broadcast on the club’s official website.

‘I do not know if there are other big clubs interested in Doucoure or other players, but if there are clubs interested it is because they are playing well.

‘I am interested in them playing well and we will see what happens in the future.’

Gracia urged him to just focus on playing well and not what club he could join in the summer

Gracia urged him to just focus on playing well and not what club he could join in the summer

Gracia urged him to just focus on playing well and not what club he could join in the summer

Watford have not been in action since the Premier League defeat at West Ham on February 10, which left them in 11th place but only four points clear of the relegation zone.

DOUCOURE’S STATS SO FAR THIS SEASON…

Premier League

Appearances: 26

Goals: 7

Assists: 2 

FA Cup 

Appearances: 2

Goals: 0

Assists:

Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes should be available again following a back problem, while Miguel Britos, Will Hughes and Kiko Femenia have all stepped up their recovery from long-term injury problems so may come into contention.

Midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah, though, remains sidelined after suffering a fractured kneecap against Manchester City during September.

Gracia told reporters Chalobah, who was expected to be in contention for a place in England’s World Cup squad if fit, ‘will be injured for a long period’.

Quoted in the Watford Observer, the Spanish coach said: ‘I am concentrating more on the players who will be able to come back in the next days or weeks and I don’t know how long he will be out for.’

Asked if he thought the 23-year-old would be available again before the end of the Premier League campaign, Gracia added: ‘I am not sure, I can’t tell you anything about that because I do not know.’

Doucoure has impressed this season and has seven Premier League goals to his name so far

Doucoure has impressed this season and has seven Premier League goals to his name so far

Doucoure has impressed this season and has seven Premier League goals to his name so far

Alvaro Arbeloa insists Real Madrid should keep Gareth Bale

  • Alvaro Arbeloa has defended Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale amid speculation
  • Reports in Spain claim that Bale has ‘run out of credit’ at the Bernabeu
  • Bale has been plagued by injuries and has started one of Real’s last four games
  • Arbeloa believes his old club should be looking to keep hold of speedy forward 

Press Association Sport Staff

Alvaro Arbeloa has defended Gareth Bale amid media speculation Real Madrid will try to offload the Wales international this summer.

Reports in Spain claim that Bale has ‘run out of credit’ at the Bernabeu and that his time with the European champions is coming to an end.

Bale, who cost Madrid a then world-record £85million when he joined from Tottenham in 2013, has been plagued by injuries during his time in La Liga and has only started one of Real’s last four games.

Reports in Spain claim that Gareth Bale has 'run out of credit' at La Liga's Real Madrid

Reports in Spain claim that Gareth Bale has 'run out of credit' at La Liga's Real Madrid

Reports in Spain claim that Gareth Bale has ‘run out of credit’ at La Liga’s Real Madrid

The 28-year-old is unlikely to be short of suitors if he does leave Madrid, but Arbeloa believes his old club should be looking to keep hold of the speedy forward.

‘I wouldn’t sell Gareth Bale. I don’t think he has run out of credit, or that he’s in a bad moment,’ former Spain, Liverpool and Madrid defender Arbeloa said at a Mambo FC press event, as reported by the Spanish media.

Alvaro Arbeloa has defended Bale amid media speculation he will be sold in the summer

Alvaro Arbeloa has defended Bale amid media speculation he will be sold in the summer

Alvaro Arbeloa has defended Bale amid media speculation he will be sold in the summer

‘If I were (Madrid coach Zinedine) Zidane, I would try to make sure everyone is at the top of their game and would treat Gareth with all the care in the world.

‘He has always had (fitness) problems that have not allowed him to have continuity.

‘At the end of the day, we will need all our players for these coming months.’

Bale has been plagued by injuries in La Liga and has only started one of Real's last four games

Bale has been plagued by injuries in La Liga and has only started one of Real's last four games

Bale has been plagued by injuries in La Liga and has only started one of Real’s last four games


14 signs of emotional abuse in a relationship

Domestic abusers are more likely to be sent to jail in the future due to changes to sentencing guidelines in the UK. 

Campaigners have hailed the tougher punishments as a ‘major step forward’.

From May this year, courts will be told to take domestic offences in the home more seriously than similar offences that take place elsewhere, because they represent a ‘violation of trust and security’ normally associated with intimate and family relationships. 

This contrasts sharply with guidelines issued 12 years ago which state offences in a domestic context should be seen as ‘no less serious’ than others.

The Sentencing Council has emphasized that crimes involving serious violence, or where the emotional and psychological damage is severe, will usually see the perpetrator jailed. 

For the first time, forms of abuse using technology such as social media will also now be taken into consideration. 

Psychotherapist Sally Brown warns some of the signs are not as clear as all. Here, she breaks down 14 subtle emotional abuse tactics in relationships

Psychotherapist Sally Brown warns some of the signs are not as clear as all. Here, she breaks down 14 subtle emotional abuse tactics in relationships

Psychotherapist Sally Brown warns some of the signs are not as clear as all. Here, she breaks down 14 subtle emotional abuse tactics in relationships

‘There may be a continuing threat to the victim’s safety, and in the worst cases a threat to their life or the lives of others around them’, it said.

The Sentencing Council also said that offences should be taken more seriously because domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident, with the danger of victims and their children to suffer ‘lasting trauma’.

‘These sentencing guidelines better reflect the reality of domestic violence today’, said Refugeabout the new recognition of how abusers exploit modern technology to track and torment women.

According to Women’s Aid, an estimated 1.3 million British women experienced domestic abuse in the last year (for the year ending March 2016). A third of American women experience domestic abuse at some point during their lifetime.  

But ‘these data do not take into account important context and impact information’, such as who experienced abuse in context of power and control.

There is growing awareness around the signs of emotional abuse, as well as physical violence. 

‘Emotional abuse can be insidious, creeping into your relationship and gradually undermining your self-belief and confidence’, says psychotherapist Sally Brown. 

‘Emotional abusers can be skilled at convincing you that everything is your fault, so you start to question yourself, and no longer trust your gut instinct – you may even feel you are going crazy.’

Some of the signs are more obvious than others, but here are 14 that Sally Brown says you should never ignore.

1. You are mocked 

Your other half loves to tell ‘funny’ stories at your expense – whether it’s how hopeless you are at managing money/driving/being organised, or how you always overdo it/make a fool of yourself at social events. 

If you object, you are accused of having no sense of humour or being oversensitive. 

You start to wonder if the digs and jibes really are just teasing and you’re missing the joke. 

The easy way to tell – when your partner makes one of these ‘jokes’ in public, does anyone laugh or is there an uncomfortable silence? If a joke makes others uncomfortable, your partner is telling it to undermine you.

2. You feel guilty all the time 

You feel guilty or slightly ashamed all the time without knowing what about. You become hyper-vigilant by monitoring your behaviour to avoid giving your partner a reason to criticise you; a feeling of ‘walking on eggshells’. 

But the goalposts seem to move all the time so you never know how you will irritate or disappoint him next. 

The irony is, an abuser can even make you feel guilty for their own bad behaviour – they got drunk because you ‘upset them’ or ‘stressed them out’, or you’re just ‘being jealous’ over their flirting.

3. Suddenly you need ‘protecting’ 

If you go out without your partner you’re either given a curfew or they insist on picking you up. They ask you to Snapchat a picture of who you are with when you get there. They tell you they are just taking care of you, but really, they are checking up on you, and keeping you on a leash that will just get shorter and shorter.

4. They makes grand gestures 

When an abusive partner knows they have overstepped the line and you are questioning the relationship, get ready for a grand gesture – an expensive meal out, a surprise weekend away, an unexpected gift or bunch of flowers. 

The original problem remains unresolved, or not even acknowledged – a grand gesture buys your silence, and your part of the deal is not to insist on talking things through.

5. You’re being gaslighted 

Gradually, you get the feeling that things just don’t quite add up – your partner contradicts something they have told you previously, or you suspect you’re not getting the whole picture (about their last relationship or why they left their last job). 

They may also deny doing or saying something that you clearly remember, but they deny it with such conviction and confidence that you start to doubt yourself. This insidious form of manipulation is called ‘gaslighting’, and it’s designed to make you doubt your mental health.

6. They burst your bubble 

You come home full of excitement because a great business opportunity has come your way or you’ve been asked to get involved with a project you feel passionate about. 

But your partner immediately throws cold water on your plans, telling you all the ways that things would go wrong, or that it’s a bad idea – or he starts a completely unrelated argument just to burst your bubble. 

In future, you gradually find yourself not sharing your ideas and successes with them, because you know you won’t get a positive reaction.

7. Backhanded compliments are their stock in trade 

When you first met, you felt flattered by the attention your partner paid to how you look. 

But as time goes by, the compliments have become few and far between, replaced by comments about how ‘wrong’ your look is – that top doesn’t suit you, you’re putting on weight, what’s going on with your hair? If you object, you’re once again being ‘oversensitive’.

8. They have no empathy 

If you talk about a problem at work, you’re ‘over-reacting’. 

You are allowed a short time to vent about major upsets, then you are expected to ‘get over it’ (so you can focus your energy and attention once again on your partner and their needs). Some emotional abusers disappear when you need them most, or become extra critical.

9. You’re always in the wrong 

Whether it was something you said six months ago, not telling your partner something that they believe they have a right to know, or letting them down in some way (putting your needs before theirs), an abusive partner will keep a mental tally and regularly remind you of your crimes. 

They may even add things that happened before you met, encouraging you to be ‘honest’ about your past sexual history, for instance, only to later use that information as evidence of your badness.

10. The purse-strings tighten 

Controlling you financially is a classic tactic of an abusive partner; something known as financial abuse. 

They may have started by giving you advice that really helps, helping you sort out debts, or being more financially responsible. Soon, your partner steps up the pressure to ‘be careful’ with money. 

But somehow, it seems like it’s always you who has to cut back, earn more and stop spending. 

Your partner doesn’t consult you before they spend money. But if there’s something you want, particularly if it involves a threat to your partner’s control over you, like training for your career, or a weekend away with friends, there will be a reason why you can’t afford it. 

11. Others become involved 

When you met, your partner had plausible explanations for their feuds and fallings-out with friends and family members. But now it’s your friends and family that are ‘insulting’, ‘attacking’, or ‘trying to sideline’ your partner and you are under pressure to take sides. Whatever the reason, your life together seems to lurch from drama to drama.

12. People think you’ve changed 

People who care about you say you seem quiet these days, or just not yourself. They wonder why you rarely go out or why you’ve changed the way you dress. And you find it hard to give them an explanation.

13. You look forward to evenings on your own 

You notice your mood is lighter one day and you remember that it’s the night your partner is going out and you get an evening to yourself. Or, they tell you they have to go away for work in a couple of weeks and you find yourself looking forward to it. When your partner is not around, you feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

14. He/she is stonewalling you 

Your partner can withdraw emotionally from you for days, not making eye contact, not talking, and refusing to explain why (while at the same time, managing to let you know that whatever it is, it is your fault). They may even disappear for days. When they come back, they will tell you they just needed ‘some space’. But you may never find out what was really going on.

This article was originally published by Healthista