Hughes expects Robinho to stay at Manchester City

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has no doubts at all that Robinho sees his future at Eastlands.

The Brazil forward made it clear in a television interview he is staying put, maybe for five or 10 years.

Robinho's comments, though, have come as no surprise to Hughes, who continues to dismiss speculation linking the player with a move to Barcelona.

Hughes said: "I know Robi's feelings. He is very happy around the place and with life in Manchester. He always has a smile on his face.

"He is playing alongside good players in a good team. He knows he can be successful with the club and the players that are here already. He likes the way we play and wants to be a part of that.

"Robi was frustrated earlier in the season because he wasn't playing. Now he is playing perhaps people will start speaking about his performances."

Robinho has returned to full fitness after a three-month absence because of an ankle injury.

He is looking to retain his place in the team tomorrow against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium after helping City defeat league leaders Chelsea last weekend.

Hughes believes Robinho's knack of tricking the opposition will play a crucial role in the club's bid for a top four slot.

"We have a lot of players who have the ability to produce something out of nothing, " said the City boss.

"You need that if you have the ambition to be a top team.

"There are going to be occasions where you don't play particularly well and those type of players can win you games.

"They make their reputations by doing something out of the ordinary and certainly Robi is one of those type of players."

City are back on track after achieving successive victories against Arsenal in the Carling Cup and then Chelsea following seven draws in a row.

The upturn in fortunes came following a heated dressing room debate between management and players after they drew with Hull.

Hughes was pleased with the response and believes the players' Christmas party can only further improve team bonding.

He said: "We have a group of guys who enjoy each other's company and mix socially anyway. It is not something we discourage.

"People have to take responsibility for their own behaviour. They are grown men and should be responsible enough to know when to walk away when a situation develops. Our group does that."

Hughes remains wary of Bolton, however, even though Gary Megson's side are in the relegation zone.

He added: "They are probably in a better position than last year when we faced them there. They beat us 2-0 on that occasion and we don't want that to happen again.

"We feel we have improved significantly since then with the strength in depth we have. I would like to think we will give a better account of ourselves."