Britain's Mo Farah has retained his 5,000 metres title at the European Championships with a supremely confident performance in Helsinki.

Farah, who is also world champion over the distance, led at the bell and was never going to be caught as he powered to victory in 13 minutes 29.91 seconds.

That was more than 30 seconds slower than his world-leading time in 2012 set in Oregon earlier this month, but the gold medal was all that mattered and proved once again that the 29-year-old has matured into a superb championship athlete.

Running his penultimate 5,000m before the London Olympics, Farah was content to sit at the very back of the field for the opening 600m before slowing moving through the pack.

With eight and a half laps remaining he and Turkey's Kemboi Arikan finally began to close the gap on Russia's Anatoliy Rybakov, who had been allowed to open a lead of around 40 metres, and with five laps remaining Farah had hit the front.

That was where he stayed until the bell signalled a last-lap sprint for glory, Farah gradually pulling away from the field to win by almost two seconds from Germany's Arne Gabius, with Arikan claiming bronze.

Farah has come in for some criticism since his last appearance on the track, having been accused of being "disrespectful" to his fellow competitors in the 1500m heats at last weekend's trials for celebrating 100m from the line, and then pulling out of the following day's final to the annoyance of paying spectators and the man who could have had his place.

"I got a little bit of stick for it but I didn't intend to disrespect anyone," Farah said. "Sometimes you get carried away and do a celebration.

"I didn't do the 1500m final but it was just to save my legs and to come out here and get a good race and see where I am. I apologise to everyone who bought tickets but this medal means more to me than doing the final and getting a medal there.

"I knew training has been going well and I recently ran 3:34 for 1500m so I had good speed, but you always have to respect the opposition and I had to work hard and make sure I had a bit left towards the end so I could kick again."