Real Madrid’s caretaker boss Santi Solari has said youngster Vinicius Junior still ‘has things to learn’ ahead of Los Blancos’ Champions League tie with Viktoria Plzen.
The Spanish giants were unconvincing 2-1 winners of their Czech opponents two weeks ago in what proved to be Julen Lopetegui’s penultimate game in charge.
Madrid sit top of Group G on goal difference with Roma in second. CSKA Moscow, who beat Real in match-day 2, are just two points further back.
Valencia’s position in Group H can be boosted with a win over Swiss side Young Boys at the Mestalla in the early kick-off.
Real Madrid’s interim coach Solari has been talking about 18-year-old Vinicius Jr after the Brazilian has finally been given first team minutes for Los Blancos. The £38m summer signing scored his first goal for the club during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Real Valladolid and was charged with changing the game at the Bernabéu.
“Tiene cosas por aprender, pero tiene cosas que ya sabe y que no se pueden aprender. Es muy joven muy fresco, aunque tiene cosas que no son normales a su edad. Su fútbol transmite alegría.”
“He has things to learn, but there are things that he knows already that you can’t learn. He is very young and very fresh, although he has things that are not normal at his age. His football transmits joy.”
The Champions League acts as a useful distraction from their domestic struggles and Solari values the competition higher than anything else;
“Siempre es muy bonito jugar esta competición ligada e inseparable a la historia de nuestro club. Cuando suena el himno nos emocionamos todos en el club. La disfruté mucho como jugador.”
“It’s always beautiful to play in this competition that is tied and inseparable with the history of our club. All of us in the club get excited when the [Champions League] hymn plays. I enjoyed it a lot as a player.”
Solari was part of the Real Madrid squad that won their 9th Champions League title in 2002. Solari played the full 90 minutes in midfield in Glasgow as Zinedine Zidane’s sumptuous volley proved to be the winner against Bayer Leverkusen. Since then, Madrid have won the competition four times including the last three in a row. It’s easy to forget they’re still holders.
Valencia are the other Spanish side in action on Wednesday. They face Young Boys at the Mestalla and know that a win over the Swiss club could move them up to 2nd in Group H. The two teams played out a drab 1-1 draw two weeks ago in Bern. Valencia boss Marcelino has come under increased pressure after a run of just one win in seven games going into this fixture.
“Dentro del club solo percibo apoyo y confianza absoluta en nuestro trabajo, quizá porque desde que llegamos demostramos una forma de trabajar, de proceder y que mantenemos ahora o que incluso hemos aumentado.”
“Within in the club I only receive support and absolute trust in our work, maybe because since we arrived, we have shown a way of working, of proceeding that we have maintained or even increased until now.”