Carlo Ancelotti refused to criticise Brazil boss Tite for snubbing Vinicius Junior after the Real Madrid star’s match-winning performance at Elche.
Vinicius took his tally to seven goals in 11 LaLiga games in 2021-22, more than he managed in his previous two seasons combined, as Los Blancos claimed a 2-1 win at the Martinez Valero.
The winger scored in each half, either side of Raul Guti’s dismissal, to send Madrid back to the top of the table despite a nervy finish to the game following Pere Milla’s late goal.
Amid his impressive form, Vinicius has been omitted from Tite’s national squad for the World Cup qualifiers in November, with Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho surprisingly recalled for what could be his first Brazil game in over a year.
However, Ancelotti was not prepared to call out Tite for the decision as he praised Vinicius’ commitment this season.
“I haven’t done anything but play him and give him the confidence that he obviously deserves because he’s playing very well and scoring goals,” Ancelotti said.
“As I’ve said many times, I’m not a magician. I try to do my best and give the maximum confidence to all the players. The Brazil issue is a friend’s decision. A great friend. I’ve nothing to answer.
“He has confidence now. Everything is going well for him. He’s also getting used to playing a bit more inside because he has the speed to do it. It’s one thing to play one-against-one on the wing and another to do it in the middle of the box. I believe that, little by little, he’s learning and doing very well.”
Vinicius’ opener was set up by Mariano Diaz, who was given a surprise start in place of the rested Karim Benzema.
Luka Jovic, who is yet to start a game under Ancelotti, was again overlooked but the Madrid boss said the striker was not yet fully fit after a knee injury.
“Jovic had a problem with his knee in the last game he played,” Ancelotti explained. “He still hasn’t trained and he’s not comfortable. That’s why he didn’t play. He had a sprain and he still hasn’t recovered.
“I like the way Mariano played: he did well, he was committed, he gave a fantastic assist… he played a good game.”
Madrid were in complete control of the contest until Milla capitalised on a mistake by Casemiro to give Elche’s 10 men the chance to snatch a point.
Ancelotti felt Madrid should have managed the latter part of the game better, but he said there was little more the players could have given after playing late on Wednesday against Osasuna.
“We have to think that, after two and a half days, you can’t play a game with intensity and energy,” Ancelotti said. “So, you have to get into a middle block and try to look for opportunities when they come. This isn’t a Real Madrid problem, it’s a problem for all teams. You can’t play at your highest level with two and a half days off.
“We didn’t handle the end of the game well. If you’re 2-0 up with an extra man, you can’t think it’s over because the referee still hasn’t blown his whistle. We made it complicated for ourselves, but luckily we have three more points.”
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