Premier League

Hughes reassures Elano

City boss insists Brazilian can play a big part at the club

Elano: Hughes hope

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Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has told midfielder Elano that he can still have a big future at the club.

The 27-year-old opened the scoring for Brazil in their midweek friendly win over Italy with City team-mate Robinho claiming the second.

But the former Shakhtar Donetsk ace, who City paid £8million for in August 2007, has endured a frustrating campaign at Eastlands.

After firmly establishing himself as a fans' favourite soon after arriving the Brazilian has failed to consistently rediscover the form which saw him score six goals before the end of October last term.

But Hughes, who has started Elano just 12 times this season, believes his charge can still play a big part for the team.

Patient

"I've been pleased with Ela recently," he said.

"He has had an understanding of where we want to go. We want him to be part of that. His football hasn't been affected by not starting games and we want him to stay here.

"What I've noticed of late is that Elano understands now it's a squad game here and he's very much part of what we're trying to do here.

"He's more comfortable with that than initially he was. He doesn't take not starting very well and there are lots of players similar to that.

"But there's no doubting his talent."