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Vinicius must learn to live with criticism at Real Madrid - Zidane

7:10 PM EST 3/1/20
Vinicius Junior Real Madrid 2019-20
The young Brazilian proved key to his side's El Clasico victory but his manager believes he must take the good with the bad

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has called on Vinicius Junior to learn to handle any criticism that comes his way after proving key in the club's 2-0 win over Barcelona in La Liga on Sunday

The 19-year-old attacker opened the scoring in the 71st minute, breaking a record held by Lionel Messi in the process, before substitute Mariano Diaz sealed the result in injury-time. 

Vinicius has struggled to cement himself at the Santiago Bernabeu since joining the club from Flamengo in 2018 with some questioning whether he has what it takes to thrive in Spain. 

The Brazilian answered his critics on Sunday however and Zidane hopes the teenager can continue standing up to criticism that comes with playing for such a big club. 

"It was good, he scored an important goal in an important game and I am happy for him," Zidane said post-match. 

"His effort is not only with the ball but also defensively he did a great job, that is what I want to highlight, that solidity that we managed to defend all together.

"He has good conditions but we don't control what is said outside, sometimes the criticisms are complicated and he has to live with that, this is Real Madrid."

Zidane was also pleased to see fringe striker Mariano find the back of the net after coming on late in the game for his first La Liga appearance of the season. 

"Everyone can say, he is the third striker of the team and today he had a chance and he did well," Zidane said of Mariano. 

"He is one more and I count on everyone, he did not have many minutes so far but I am glad for his goal."

Real Madrid's win has seen them return to the La Liga summit - one point clear of Barcelona - with Zidane adamant the title race is far from over despite picking up a well-earned three points. 

"We deserve the victory for everything we have done, the offensive and the defensive," he said.

"It's three important points after a complicated week, we had a chance to change that but it really doesn't change anything, we have to go on and we'll fight until the end.

"We were happy for the game, it was a complicated week, we knew that today we had a good opportunity and we fulfilled what we had worked, we thought that this could be carried out with a good game and we did it with some difficulties for the rival but it is a deserved victory.

"Nothing changes, we will have other difficult moments and they will criticise us again, it is not new."