Football: Vinicius is a great player, not antagonistic, says Ancelotti

Real Madrid's Vinicius Jr was involved in confrontations on the pitch during the team's 4-1 win over Real Mallorca. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said he will not tell his forward Vinicius Jr to tone down his style of play despite criticism that the Brazilian has been provoking his opponents.

Vinicius was involved in a series of confrontations on the pitch during Real's 4-1 win over Real Mallorca on Sunday, arguing with a number of visiting players as well as coach Javier Aguirre over the number of fouls he received.

Ancelotti and Real teammate Toni Kroos could even be seen telling Vinicius to calm down during the game and focus on playing rather than confronting opponents.

But the coach played down the issue ahead of Real's Champions League Group F match at home to RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

"What I see is a great player who is demonstrating his talent, that's it," Ancelotti told a news conference.

"I'm not deaf and I'm not stupid, I can hear what is being said but this isn't a topic for us or for Vinicius. He has extraordinary quality and it's normal that opponents try to stop him in his tracks and the rules of the game are there to protect all players, not just Vinicius."

Vinicius, 22, is in his best run of form since joining Real four years ago, scoring in his last five matches in all competitions.

Real are also in ruthless form heading into the match with Leipzig, winning all five of their domestic fixtures to lead the La Liga standings and having beaten Celtic 3-0 last Wednesday in their Champions League opener.

Leipzig suffered a humbling 4-1 home defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk last week which led to coach Domenico Tedesco being sacked the next day.

However, they have made a flying start to life under successor Marco Rose, who oversaw a 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Saturday in his first game in charge. REUTERS

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