Hughes - Robi can prove key
Mark Hughes has sung the praises of Robinho ahead of the Brazilian's return to action against Hull.
Last Updated: 27/11/09 5:25pm
Mark Hughes has sung the praises of Robinho ahead of the Brazilian's return to action against Hull City on Saturday.
The £32.5million record British signing has been out for three months after suffering a stress fracture of an ankle on World Cup duty for Brazil in Argentina.
Hughes is delighted the player is back as he bids to halt a run of six successive Premier League draws which has seen the Light Blues slip off the title pace.
He said: "Robinho is an outstanding player.
"If anyone is out for a long period sometimes you can forget how accomplished they are.
"Having worked with him this week and seen him back in the group, we can see the qualities that he can bring to the side.
"We are delighted that he is back and fit and well because he will have a real influence for us this year I am sure."
Hughes believes Robinho could have been the key to unlocking defences in the recent spate of draws.
He added: "He could have turned some of those draws into victories.
"If you get him into key areas he is one of the best in the world with his ability at close quarters.
"It is something we have lacked when teams have tried to come and frustrate us."
There has been much recent speculation that the Brazilian could be on the move, with Barcelona seen as his preferred destination, but Hughes wants Robinho to now make the headlines on the pitch.
He added: "Robinho is a guy that generates comment and since he has been out with his injury the news has clearly not been about what he is doing on the pitch.
"Instead it is about what might happen and comments about his future, more often than not from people without any valid insight.
"What we have to accept with Robinho is that he is a big name in the world of football and people feel the need to write stories about him on a regular basis."
It was the corresponding fixture last season which saw Phil Brown's controversial half-time team-talk when the visitors were four goals down, going on to lose 5-1.
The Tigers boss has been much criticised by some for his actions but Hughes does not believe Brown deserves to be pilloried for trying something different.
"Phil obviously felt it was something he needed to do," said Hughes.
"If it had got the desired reaction it would have been viewed as a masterstroke.
"But it didn't turn around the game and as a consequence it has been thrown back at him more times than he would have wanted.
"Half-time is one of those periods when a manager can have an influence and I do not believe you should be criticised for taking a different approach."