Hughes expects Robinho boost
Mark Hughes is confident star signing Robinho will come back even better next season.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 24/04/09 2:16pm
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is confident star signing Robinho will come back even better next season.
The Brazilian forward made an immediate impact in the Premier League after City splashed out a British record transfer fee to sign him from Real Madrid last August.
The 25-year-old scored 12 goals in his first 19 games for the Blues and looked every inch the £32.5million player they had signed to spearhead the new-look City side.
A marked drop in form followed, though, with many believing Premier League defenders had found how to counteract the mercurial forward.
Having also walked out of the club's mid-winter training camp in Tenerife in January, some questioned whether City would offload their prize asset in the summer.
But Robinho scored his first goal of 2009 in last week's 4-2 win over West Brom, halting a 17-match goal drought, and this week he claimed he wants to stay at City "for a long time to come".
Hughes believes it is only natural that Robinho's form faded after a strong start and having ended his goal famine, expects him to finish the season with a flourish.
"He's happy here and you can see that on a daily basis," he told Sky Sports News.
"He's back scoring as well so that's obviously making him happy and he's had a good season.
"I think when you're coming into a new league, you can make a huge impact initially and then there's a levelling out on the impact you can make.
"But we're hoping that he's going to finish strongly now."
Hughes pointed out that the Premier League is a different proposition to Spain's La Liga but reckons Robinho will be an even bigger asset next term with a year in England under his belt.
"He'll benefit from the season that he's had," Hughes added.
"He's enjoyed the experience of the Premier League.
"It's a different league and a stronger league than what he's been used to and the intensity on a weekly basis is higher.
"He has that knowledge now and next season we hope he'll go on to bigger and better things."