Aston Villa boss Unai Emery is “optimistic” his side’s charge for European football next season will prove successful.

Villa’s 2-1 win against Tottenham last week lifted them level with the Londoners, who sit seventh in the Europa Conference League play-off place, and to within a point of Brighton, who occupy the last Europa League spot.

Emery, whose side play at Liverpool on Saturday, told a press conference: “After the match against Tottenham, I am optimistic. It’s not in our hands, but we are going to play and try to win.”

Villa responded to recent back-to-back league defeats with victory against struggling Tottenham, their 14th top-flight win in 23 games since Emery took charge last October.

That run has seen the former Arsenal boss nominated for Premier League manager of the season.

Two games remain for Emery’s side – they are at home to Brighton on the final day – and their transformation under the Spaniard has brought a possible top-seven finish into sharp focus.

“I love Europe,” Emery said: “I really want to play Europe because after 15 years, spending a lot of time playing amazing matches, amazing performances and amazing matches, I am here to try and do the same with Aston Villa.”

The 51-year-old is the Europa League’s most successful manager, winning the competition three times with Sevilla and once with Villarreal, while he was a runner-up with Arsenal when they lost to Chelsea in the 2019 final.

“My focus, my passion, is to play here feeling strong emotions together, firstly in the Premier League, secondly trying to be close to trophies and then playing in Europe,” Emery said.

“That is my motivation every day. It’s the reason we have to be focused and, involving the people around us, thinking about football and the possibilities in our life.”

Emery revealed midfielder Philippe Coutinho will play no part in Villa’s last two games after sustaining an unspecified injury in training before the Tottenham match.

Emery added: “I talked with him this week. He’s a little bit unlucky with his month because I didn’t see him play matches like I want.

“But, of course, with the injuries coming, we have to be patient as well, now we are going to wait for his recovery.

“This year, he’s not going to play again until the end of this season because we are finishing in two weeks.”

Defender Calum Chambers missed training on Thursday due to illness, but is expected to be included in the squad for the trip to Anfield.

Lucas Moura will leave Tottenham at the end of the season.

The Brazilian forward has struggled for fitness and form this campaign with no goals in his 17 appearances.

Moura missed a large chunk of the first half of the campaign with a tendon injury and since his return after the World Cup has been involved in several difficult moments for Spurs, being sent off in a 1-1 draw at Everton before his error resulted in Liverpool scoring a stoppage-time winner last month.

Arguably his best moment in a Spurs shirt was when he netted a hat-trick in 2019 at Ajax that sent Tottenham through to a first Champions League final in the most dramatic fashion.

Spurs have now confirmed this term will be Moura’s last and he will get the chance to bid farewell to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium faithful in Saturday’s home match with Brentford.

“Wherever I am, my heart will always be here. You are my club,” Moura said on Tottenham’s official Twitter feed.

“It has been the greatest honour to defend this badge. Every flick, every tackle, every leap, every goal.

“From the highest of highs to the lowest lows, from the beginning to the end, you sung my name. This has been my dream.

“This will always be my home. Some nights we will never forget, writing history together. I will always love you no matter where I go. We will meet again.”

Moura has scored 38 goals in 219 appearances since he moved to Tottenham in the winter transfer window of 2018.

“We would like to thank Lucas for his tremendous service to our club and wish him the very best for the future,” an official club statement read.

“We shall provide a further update on our wider released and retained player list following the conclusion of the 2022/23 campaign.”

Jurgen Klopp’s poor disciplinary record and his failure to heed previous conduct warnings were aggravating factors which led to the Liverpool manager receiving a two-match touchline ban for implying bias by referee Paul Tierney.

Klopp was fined £75,000 and will not be in the technical area for their final Premier League home game of the campaign against Aston Villa on Saturday but the second match of his punishment has been suspended until the end of next season.

The German admitted a charge of improper conduct in that his comments about Tierney implied bias, questioned the integrity of the referee and brought the game into disrepute.

Klopp, who was booked for celebrating in the face of fourth official John Brooks after Diogo Jota’s added-time goal in the 4-3 win over Tottenham last month, suggested in post-match interviews what Tierney had said to him in issuing the caution was “not OK” and went on to add “we have our story, history, with Mr Tierney. I really don’t know what this man has with us”.

The independent disciplinary commission, in its written reasons, said the Professional Game Match Officials Limited viewed Klopp’s comments as an “unwarranted attack on Mr Tierney’s integrity” and so immediately issued a statement in defence of the official.

Klopp later apologised, clarifying his words and denying he had questioned Tierney’s integrity and while that, and his letter to the commission, were deemed “considerable mitigation” it was his history which counted against him.

“Mr Klopp has a poor record for disciplinary offences, having appeared before commissions on three occasions in the past five years,” said the commission in its written reasons.

“In November 2022 in an appeal in which two members of the present commission sat, Mr Klopp received a touchline ban, a fine and a warning.

“Those sanctions plainly failed to deter Mr Klopp from committing nine similar breaches of the rules. Mr Klopp is a high-profile individual in the football world. He must have known that what he said would attract widespread publicity.

“He should have realised that it was incumbent on him to restrain himself and to behave properly.

“The statements that Mr Klopp made/adopted were not limited to comments on the immediate match, but extended to allegations of persistent bias against a blameless referee.

“The intense media interest that followed Mr Klopp’s remarks was highly damaging.”

Klopp created a problem for himself when he charged down the touchline following Jota’s goal after Tottenham’s 90th-minute equaliser had cancelled out Liverpool’s earlier 3-0 lead.

From evidence obtained from the officials’ audio, Brooks told Tierney “Jurgen Klopp has just run and celebrated in my face. I think it’s a yellow card mate, minimum”.

VAR backed up Brooks’ opinion and in booking Klopp, Tierney said: “I have to show you yellow… it could be red, but I am going to show you yellow. We will give you the benefit of the doubt, don’t do anything more.”

Those were the comments Klopp deemed “not OK” but it was not his behaviour on the pitch which produced the disciplinary charge but the aspersions he cast at Tierney, which he subsequently withdrew in a press conference a couple of days later and in a letter of apology to the commission.

Liverpool, in their own letter, stressed Klopp may have misunderstood Tierney and “they do not believe that Mr Tierney purposely gives decisions against LFC and that any suggestion that Mr Tierney was biased or not wholly impartial was totally unintended.

“Mr Klopp did not wish to suggest that Mr Tierney was dishonest, just that there were a long list of key decisions which he felt aggrieved by that have involved Mr Tierney.

“Both LFC and Jurgen Klopp regret that his comments have become a story in themselves and that there has been any question mark cast over Mr Tierney’s impartiality – that was not intended.”

Klopp spelled out his regret in his own letter, saying: “Although it was not my intention I accept now it appears that I was questioning Mr Tierney’s integrity. I take ownership of this. On reflection, the words I used were inappropriate.

“To be absolutely clear, I know that Mr Tierney, along with all other officials, do their work without any pre-conceived bias or prejudice.

“Although not an excuse, I believe we have made up a high percentage of Mr Tierney’s matches this season? Something in the region of 20 per cent of the matches he has officiated have involved my team.

“I do not offer this as a defence, rather it is an observation and could be a reason for both the build-up of frustration governed by an inadvertent accumulation of incidents over an extended period.”

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has signed a new contract with the club.

The England international has established himself as a key figure at the Emirates since he joined from Sheffield United in 2021.

Ramsdale’s previous terms were due to expire in 2025 and this new deal is set to run until 2026 with Arsenal holding the option to extend it by a further year, the PA news agency understands.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: “We’re all so happy that Aaron has signed a new contract.

“The way Aaron has developed over the past two years has been exceptional, with his performances, contribution and overall adaptation to the club.

“It’s great that we’re continuing to build our future with our biggest talents in our young squad. We’re all looking forward to enjoying many more years of Aaron the player and the person at the football club.”

Ramsdale has made 39 appearances for Arsenal this season and kept 15 clean sheets in all competitions.

Sporting Director Edu added: “It’s great that we’ve agreed and completed a new contract with Aaron.

“We have enjoyed so many positive moments from Aaron’s performances in his two years with us and are looking forward to many more.

“We must also remember that Aaron is still very young, so there is still a lot more to come from him, as we continue to build with our young foundations.”

Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui has challenged his team to finish well in front of a home crowd at Molineux against Everton on Saturday.

Lopetegui has steered the club to Premier League safety with three games to spare after they won four home games in a row without conceding.

And the Wolves boss has called on his side to keep their run going in their final home game of the season.

Lopetegui told a pre-match press conference: “In this part of the season, fortunately we achieved our first aim, our most important aim and a very difficult aim, that is to be out of the relegation battle three matches from the end of the season.

“Of course, we want more, and we have to take the game on Saturday looking at the challenge and a chance for us to finish the season well in front of our fans.

“We want to be able to compete until the rest of the season for the respect of the league and for the rest of the teams. If we were still fighting to get out of the relegation, we would want the same from other teams, so it’s the same demand for ourselves.”

Although Wolves are out of the relegation battle, Saturday’s visitors Everton are still firmly in the mix, sat 17th in the table.

The Toffees gave their chances of survival a boost with a dominant 5-1 victory against Brighton before losing 3-0 to Manchester City at the weekend.

And Lopetegui will not allow Wolves to take things easy this weekend.

He said: “We have worked with good commitment this week, thinking of course Saturday is the last match in front of our fans so of course it’s important for us.

“In the same way we know we have one very good opponent with very good players, a good coach.

“They have had one very clear way in the last two or three months and they showed they have very good players and are a very good team.

“They are fighting, of course, to survive in the Premier League, they have shown the level in the last match against Brighton.

“So we know the kind of match we’re going to have to compete with them because, of course, we are professional, we are fighting and we know that other teams are fighting for different aims in the Premier League and we have to do our best.”

Jurgen Klopp has been given a two-match touchline ban over comments he made about referee Paul Tierney following Liverpool’s win over Tottenham in April.

The Football Association meted out the suspension after Klopp admitted his comments, in which he accused Tierney of bearing a grudge against his team, questioned the integrity of the referee, implied bias and brought the game into disrepute.

The Liverpool manager, who has also been fined £75,000, was booked in added time of his team’s 4-3 win against Spurs at Anfield for sprinting up to the face of the fourth official whilst celebrating Diogo Jota’s dramatic late winner.

The first game of the ban is to be served immediately whilst the second is suspended until the end of next season pending future conduct.

An FA statement read: “Jurgen Klopp has been suspended from the touchline for two matches and fined £75,000 following media comments that he made after Liverpool’s Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday 30 April 2023.

“The first match of the manager’s touchline ban is effective immediately and the second is suspended until the end of the 2023/24 season on the condition that he does not commit any further breaches of FA Rule E3 in the meantime.

“(He) admitted that his comments regarding the match referee during post-match media interviews constitute improper conduct as they imply bias, question the integrity of the referee, are personal, offensive, and bring the game into disrepute.”

Klopp had just watched Liverpool snatch a stunning win over Spurs just minutes after allowing the visitors to complete a late comeback from 3-0 down.

In his post-match press conference, he said: “How they can give a foul on Mohamed Salah (just before Spurs’ third goal)? We have our history with Tierney. I really don’t know what he has against us.

“He has said there is no problems but that cannot be true. How he looks at me, I don’t understand it. My celebration was unnecessary, which is fair, but what he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not OK.”

Charlie Savage is determined to make his own mark on the game as the Manchester United youngster follows in the footsteps of famous father Robbie.

It is 32 years since Savage Sr pitched up at Old Trafford, going on to play in the FA Youth Cup-winning Class of 92 before joining Crewe without making a first-team appearance.

Another Savage is now in the United youth set-up and Charlie fulfilled a lifelong dream by making his senior debut as a substitute against Young Boys in the Champions League in late 2021.

The 20-year-old regularly jokes with his dad that has the edge on him as a result, but Robbie’s humorous retort reminds him there is a long way to go.

 

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“I say it all the time to him,” Charlie Savage told the PA news agency. “He played 346 games in the Prem and he says come back to me when you’ve played 347!

 

“I’d have to play every game in a row for 10 years to do that!”

You could feel the respect as Charlie spoke about his dad’s career, which saw him represent Leicester, Birmingham, Blackburn and Derby in the Premier League as well as play 39 times for Wales.

That impressive CV and subsequent media career piques interest and leads to comparisons when the 20-year-old comes into focus, but he brushes such talk aside.

“With the industry that we’re in, it’s fair that people say about my dad and stuff,” Savage said. “But I definitely am my own player.

“I think we’re quite different as players. It’s hard to compare me and him because we’re from two different eras.

“Obviously if I go and have the career that he had, I’d be very happy – playing for your country and playing more than 340 times in the Premier League.

“My aim is to be my own man but, like I say, it doesn’t really bother me that people compare me to my dad because I am proud that he is my dad.”

 

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That pride is reciprocated by his father, who was emotional on co-commentary duties when Charlie came on against Young Boys.

 

A clip then went viral of the ex-Wales international expressing his joy after seeing his son had netted his first senior goal during his loan at Forest Green in the second half of last season.

It is a time Savage junior took a lot from, embracing life in Gloucestershire and building a bond with staff beyond the field in a season that ultimately ended in relegation from League One.

Savage says playing for a club built on sustainability has made him “more environmentally conscious” and has backed them to bounce straight back under Everton great Duncan Ferguson.

“He’s been fantastic with me,” Savage said of the Forest Green boss.

“He’s not who everyone makes him out to be in terms of the hardman persona. He’s honestly really caring.

“I’m forever grateful for him giving me a chance and sticking with me.”

Savage is now looking forward to the next step in his career for club and country.

He is taking part in a Wales training camp later this month and plans to work throughout the summer to give himself the best chance of impressing back at United.

“I think it’s tough to say at the minute,” he said of his ambitions for the 2023-24 campaign.

“Obviously it’s everyone’s dream to make it at United when you’ve come through here as a boy, so I have to work as hard as I can and see where it takes me.”

United technical director Darren Fletcher kept in frequent contact during his time at Forest Green, as did loan managers Les Parry and Danny Keough.

Savage said that hands-on approach “sticks with you”, so too the chance to work so frequently with United boss Erik ten Hag after he arrived last summer.

“I went on the tour in pre-season to Thailand and Australia,” said the midfielder, who came on at half-time in the 4-0 win against Liverpool in Bangkok before getting further minutes Down Under.

“I spent the first two, three months of the season with them every day, so it was a really, really good experience learning from him and taking knowledge from him.

“I think United have had a really good season, winning the Carabao Cup and potentially winning an FA Cup, so I’d say he’s done a really good job.”

 

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Savage would love to have another chance to impress this pre-season and is staying open-minded about his future.

 

“I’d have liked to make my debut for Wales,” he said when asked where he sees himself in a year.

“I think that’s the next one, not to tick off as such but that’s my next aim along with just playing at the highest level I can.

“Whether that be on a better loan, at United or whatever it is. Football works in weird ways. you never know where you’re going to be until maybe a week before.”

Jurgen Klopp can help convince top transfer targets to sign for Liverpool even if they are not in the Champions League next season, according to former Reds striker Ian Rush.

Liverpool have won their last seven games and currently sit fifth, just a point behind Newcastle and Manchester United, who both have matches in hand.

However, even if Liverpool can continue their impressive run and beat Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday and then finish the campaign with another victory at relegated Southampton, there would be no guarantee of Champions League football again.

There is set to be a turnover of personnel this summer, with the likes of James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Roberto Firmino all leaving

Brighton’s Argentinian World Cup-winner Alexis Mac Allister is one potential transfer target, as well as Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Ryan Gravenberch at Bayern Munich.

Rush feels even if Liverpool do end up not being able to offer Champions League football next season, Reds boss Klopp will still be able to sell a switch to Anfield.

“They had a bit of a lapse, every team has one. To win seven games on the run is like they are back to where they were when they won the league,” Rush told the PA news agency.

“Whether they get the Champions League spot or not, that is a different matter, but all Liverpool can do is win their next two games. If they do, they finish the season on a high.

“If you end up in the Europa League and can go on to win it, then you are going to be back in the Champions League.

“If you don’t make the Champions League, then you go and look to improve the team through the summer.

“I am sure Liverpool will want to do that. You have got to sign players to keep everyone on their toes.”

Rush, who is supporting Soccer Aid for UNICEF, added: “When you are signing players, it does help when your team is in the Champions League, because all the top players want to play there.

“Klopp, though, is a fantastic manager and he is in a position to change a player’s mind.

“He can say ‘listen, you want to come to Liverpool and while you will not be in the Champions League this year, we want to make you a superstar for all these fantastic fans and build a team around you’.

“He did that exactly when you look at (Virgil) Van Dijk – he could have gone to Chelsea and Manchester City were interested, but Klopp sold Liverpool to him. That is what Klopp is good at.”

While Liverpool remain in the hunt to qualify for the Champions League – a competition they won in 2019 and finished runners-up in last year – they have fallen well behind in the title race this season.

But despite a current 20-point gap to leaders Manchester City – who have overhauled Arsenal and look set to win the title for a fifth time in the past six seasons – Rush is confident the Reds can recover to mount a serious challenge once more.

“I think it is breachable,” said Rush, Liverpool’s all-time leading scorer with 346 goals in 660 appearances during a trophy-laden career.

“Liverpool have got a strong squad. It is about keeping everyone fit and I am sure they will make some additions.

“Then at the start of the new season, if everyone is well, then I am sure Manchester City will be keeping an eye on Liverpool as one of the danger teams and they will be in the mix.”

This year’s Soccer Aid event will take place on June 11 at Old Trafford and Rush is expecting another memorable occasion.

“It is for a great cause and everyone is competitive. It doesn’t matter whatever they do – actors or ex-players – all they want is for the team to win,” the former Wales striker said.

:: Tickets for Soccer Aid For UNICEF on Sunday 11th June 2023 at Old Trafford, are on sale via www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets with a family of four able to attend for just £60 — two adults and two children

Brentford striker Ivan Toney is serving an eight-month ban after admitting 232 breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules.

The 27-year-old – who has scored 68 goals in 124 appearances for Thomas Frank’s side – will not be able to play again until January 17, 2024.

Here, the PA news agency assesses the significance of his loss for Brentford and England.

Bees’ talisman

Toney is enjoying the best season of his career so far, having scored 20 goals in 33 Premier League appearances and making his long-awaited England debut.

His tally represents 37 per cent of Brentford’s total of 54 goals, the third highest share behind Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (39 per cent) and Tottenham’s Harry Kane (42 per cent).

Toney’s importance to the Bees is clear – as well as being the leading scorer this season, he is top for shots (94), third for assists (four) and fourth for minutes played (2,953).

He has been the club’s top scorer in all three seasons since joining in 2020, netting 31 goals to help them gain promotion from the Championship in his first season and backing that up with 12 in the Premier League last term.

Mbeumo to step up?

It is difficult to assess Brentford’s prospects without their talisman because he has started the vast majority of league games – 109 out of 120 – since his arrival.

The Bees have won 46, drawn 33 and lost 30 matches when Toney has been named in the 11, averaging 1.57 points per game.

Their record without Toney in the starting line-up is not as good, with four wins, three draws and four losses equating to 1.36 points per game.

Frank’s men appeared to have coped better in his absence this season, albeit across a small sample size, having recorded wins over West Ham and Liverpool and a draw with Nottingham Forest.

Bryan Mbeumo scored in each of those matches, despite contributing only four goals in 33 appearances with Toney alongside him.

The Bees’ performance against the Hammers in Toney’s absence on Sunday was especially encouraging, with an impressive attacking display producing a total of 24 shots – the most they have managed in a single game this season.

Plenty of options for Southgate

Toney’s form had moved him into pole position as England’s second-choice centre-forward behind Harry Kane, but manager Gareth Southgate will have no shortage of alternatives in his absence.

The 27-year-old made his international debut against Ukraine in March, becoming the first Brentford player to be capped by England since Les Smith in 1939.

However, with fellow strikers Callum Wilson (17), Marcus Rashford (16) and Ollie Watkins (14) also ranking in the top 10 for Premier League goals this season, Toney could face an uphill struggle to regain his place in the squad.

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper wants his side to take advantage of having their fate in their own hands as they close in on Premier League survival.

Forest have had a tumultous time in their first season back in the Premier League after 23 years away and looked doomed after an 11-game winless run left them in the bottom three heading towards the end of last month.

But seven points from the last four games have seen them move three points clear of the drop zone and their safety could be achieved this weekend if they earn a positive result against Arsenal on Saturday and results go their way elsewhere.

Cooper said: “Wherever you are in the league – it was a different situation last year – when you’re playing for something you always want it to be in your hands and we have managed to create that for now and that’s what we’ve got to try and capitalise on.

“A lot of hard work and good things need to happen to keep it that way. We’ve got to have the confidence and motivation to make it that way.

“There’s a mini-league going on in our part of the table and we want to stay as a minimum where we are now. There’s so much that can happen in the next two games and we’ve got to concentrate on what we can control, concentrate on the present, giving our best every day.

“We are all doing that and that gives us the best chance.”

As well as securing their own fate they will end Arsenal’s slim title hopes with victory at the City Ground.

The Gunners’ chances took what looked like a terminal blow when they lost to Brighton last weekend, but Cooper does not think that negative result will factor into Saturday’s match.

“It’s not something that I think about and I don’t think many managers would think about their opponents’ situation,” he said. “So many times you’ve come against teams and you assume they’re in a certain situation and we’ve had the complete opposite.

“We’re preparing For Arsenal to be who they are and we have got to be at our very best. We’re in control of what we do and having a really good impact in the game and that’s where our intentions lie.

“I expect to come up against a team that has been at the top for a lot of the season. Look at how many points they have got and goals they have scored, we’re coming up against a top, top team.

“Put all the context to our situation and theirs to one side and we know we have to be at our very, very best, bare minimum.

“When you prepare for a game you do more analysing than you do normally and they do some brilliant things in the way they set up tactically, the players they have and everything else.

“We’re fully aware of that, we felt it in the game away from home. I think we’ve come on a bit since then but we have to be more than ready.”

Cooper has no fresh injuries to contend with and will have Emmanuel Dennis available after his recovery from a knock.

Manchester City will face Inter Milan in the Champions League final on June 10. The two clubs have never played each other in a competitive match but manager Pep Guardiola does have some experience of facing the Italians. Here, the PA news agency looks back on those meetings.

September 2009: Inter 0 Barcelona 0 (Champions League, group stage)

All four of Guardiola’s past encounters with Inter came during his Barcelona side’s 2009-10 Champions League campaign, at a time when both clubs were among the most powerful forces in Europe, and pitted him against someone who would go on to become his fiercest rival, Jose Mourinho. The first of those games was a goalless draw at the San Siro.

November 2009: Barcelona 2 Inter 0 (Champions League, group stage)

Barca, the reigning champions, asserted their authority in the return fixture. A team that left Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench won comfortably with first-half goals from Gerard Pique and Pedro.

April 2010: Inter 3 Barcelona 1 (Champions League, semi-finals)

It was a different story when the sides met again in the last four. This time Inter ran out convincing winners at the San Siro after coming from behind in the first leg of their semi-final. Pedro struck first for the holders but Inter levelled through Wesley Sneijder and took victory after further goals from Maicon and Diego Milito.

April 2010: Barcelona 1 Inter 0 (Champions League, semi-finals)

Mourinho’s side were at their defensive best as they frustrated Barca with 10 men to end their reign as champions. Guardiola’s side won on the night with a late goal from Pique but it was not enough as the Catalans failed to take full advantage of Thiago Motta’s 28th-minute sending off. Inter went on to lift the trophy.

Dean Smith defended his under-fire Leicester players as they fight for their Premier League lives.

The Foxes go to Newcastle on Monday knowing their top-flight future hangs in the balance as they sit two points from safety with two games left.

If Everton win at Wolves and Nottingham Forest avoid defeat against Arsenal over the weekend Leicester will need to win at St James’ Park or they will go down.

The squad – with one win in their last 14 games – has been accused of lacking fight in their relegation battle but Smith has given them his support.

“I don’t need to pay homage to the players, I’ve inherited a squad and not brought any of them in,” said the boss, who saw the Foxes limply lose 3-0 to Liverpool on Monday.

“I can openly criticise them if I need to, I don’t think I need to and I choose not to because the work ethic I see is there.

“The numbers I get from my performance department prove to me it’s there. The thing which is missing is keeping clean sheets and making fewer mistakes in the defensive third.

“It’s out of our hands because if other teams get the results there’s nothing we can do. We just have to concentrate on Newcastle and get the win.

“If we get the performance we are capable of and minimise mistakes, not a problem.

“We are in a position we don’t want to be in. Our job is to get out of it. Our job hasn’t changed from eight games (when he came in) to two games.

“If you look at it realistically it was going to be tough to get points from Manchester City and Liverpool. Other games we would have expected to get points.”

Kelechi Iheanacho (groin) and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (ankle) are expected to resume training on Saturday after missing the Liverpool defeat while Caglar Soyuncu (hamstring) and Danny Ward (dislocated finger) remain out.

It is a fourth straight Monday game – meaning Leicester will know all the results before they play – but Smith insisted other scorelines will not impact his approach.

He added: “We’re preparing for Newcastle now, I don’t want to suddenly change tactics with what we’ve been working on for four or five days.”

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is set to rejoin training on Friday ahead of the crucial trip to Wolves this weekend.

The England international was replaced at half-time of last weekend’s defeat by Manchester City due to a groin problem, and having been given a reduced workload this week, manager Sean Dyche is ready to bring him back into the squad.

“He’s had a few down days and it is looking more promising so he will be with us again tomorrow,” he said.

“He has come through the last couple of days well.”

Defender Vitalii Mykolenko’s continued absence, he missed the City game with a thigh problem, means Everton are without any first-choice full-backs as Seamus Coleman’s season was ended by a knee injury earlier this month.

Dyche admits it would be a risk to play the Ukraine international this weekend.

“I doubt he will be right for this one. He has got a chance for the next one,” he said.

“It’s a risk-and-reward scenario but he hasn’t trained so I doubt he’ll be ready for this one.

“Myko is close but it is whether we take a gamble on that with only one to go (after this weekend).”

Manuel Akanji has his sights firmly set on the treble after Manchester City took a huge stride towards becoming only the second English side to achieve that feat.

City ruthlessly swept aside 14-time European kings Real Madrid 4-0 on Wednesday to power into next month’s Champions League final.

With the team also on the brink of securing their fifth Premier League title in six seasons and through to the FA Cup final, a glorious end to the season is on the cards.

Claiming all three trophies would see them emulate the achievement of rivals Manchester United – coincidentally their FA Cup opponents at Wembley – in 1999.

City defender Akanji, who joined the club from Borussia Dortmund in September, said: “First we have got to win the Premier League. That’s what we can do on the weekend and I hope we are going to do it.

“Then it’s two finals and we want to win both of them.

“It would be unbelievable. It is my first season here. It is the best team I have ever played in and we have been really confident in the second part of the season.

“I think we’ve done a really good job but we’ve got to keep it up until the end.”

Victory over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday would see City clinch the Premier League with two games to spare.

Manager Pep Guardiola would then have the luxury of being able to rest or rotate players ahead of their finals, against United on June 3 and Inter Milan in Istanbul a week later.

Their stunning performance against Real, when they trampled all over the most successful club in European competition history to complete a 5-1 aggregate win, puts them at short odds to complete all three.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Switzerland defender Akanji, who was responsible for City’s third goal after his glancing header was deflected in by Eder Militao. “From the first minute we stepped on the court we were confident.

“I think at home, in all the knockout games, we have had pretty impressive wins. It shows how good we are here and now we have got to do this at the weekend as well to bring home the Premier League and then two other titles too.”

Bernardo Silva set up City’s victory with two first-half goals and Julian Alvarez completed the rout late on.

Bernardo Silva is determined to right a wrong after firing Manchester City back to the Champions League final.

The Portugal playmaker struck twice as City overpowered Real Madrid 4-0 in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday to set up a clash with Inter Milan in next month’s Istanbul showpiece.

It marks a return to the final for City two years on from their disappointing loss to Chelsea on European club football’s top night and Silva wants to ensure the result is different this time.

The 28-year-old said: “The final of the Champions League is always an unbelievable occasion.

“I’ve only played it once and the outcome was wasn’t very happy for me. Let’s try and change that.

“We know that we play against a very tough team. I watched their game on Tuesday and they are very organised collectively.

“We’re going to study them, follow the manager’s plan once again and try to, individually and collectively, put out the best possible performance, like this one, to be as close as possible to winning that game.”

City produced one of the greatest performances in the club’s history to move a step closer to winning the competition for the first time.

Real Madrid, the holders and 14-time winners of the trophy, had no answer to City’s dizzying combination of movement, speed, strength and cutting edge.

City made a blistering start and maintained the intensity throughout. Silva put them into a thoroughly deserved lead after 23 minutes and added a second before the interval.

An Eder Militao own goal and late Julian Alvarez strike made the scoreline 5-1 on aggregate and truly reflective of their superiority. Victory could have been even more emphatic with Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois making three fine saves to deny Erling Haaland.

City’s display ensured sweet revenge for their loss to the same opponents in the semi-finals last year.

“I’m very happy because the performance was amazing,” Silva said. “From minute one, the pressure that we put on Real Madrid’s defence – we pushed them back and we created lots of chances.

“And with our people – the energy – we felt the momentum that we created. It helped a lot.

“The second half started in a weird way where they put us under a bit of pressure but I think the team was very resilient, very organised, and the difference from this year to last year was the chances – we created most of them. We took them and we scored the goals.”

The Champions League final could be the crowning moment of a glorious treble for Pep Guardiola’s City this season.

They will claim the first of the three trophies they are chasing if they beat Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.

Silva said: “Yes, with our people again. Hopefully we can give them another happy day and give them the special moment of winning five (Premier Leagues) in six years, which is not easy in this country.

“We’re going to rest, sleep well, eat well and prepare well to be at our best and give that happiness to them because they deserve it.”

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