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Page last updated at 07:01 GMT, Monday, 13 April 2009 08:01 UK

Robinho needed rest, says Hughes

Robinho (R) and his compatriot Elano began City's game against Fulham on the bench
Robinho began City's game against Fulham on the bench

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes defended starting Robinho on the bench in the dismal 3-1 defeat by Fulham saying the £32.5m star needed a rest.

The Eastlands crowd demanded Robinho be brought on but he had a minimal impact after being introduced on 63 minutes.

"I'm trying to protect the players," said Hughes after the defeat.

"Robinho has had a great first season but has been one of those carrying the vast majority of the workload. It was my first chance to give him a break."

Hopefully we will be in better shape for Hamburg, which is a key game for us

Man City boss Mark Hughes

The Brazilian has had an indifferent 2009, failing to score in the 14 games that he has played this year, after scoring 12 in 19 games after joining City from Real Madrid.

The home fans at Eastlands had chanted "you don't know what you're doing" at Hughes when, with the score at 1-1, he chose to bring on Ched Evans for Valeri Bojinov and leave Robinho on the bench.

But, with City already missing several key players for the second leg of their Uefa Cup quarter-final against Hamburg on Thursday, Hughes insisted he was right to wait until the last half-hour before introducing the Brazilian.

"I know the fitness levels of each player," Hughes added. "So when people make comments maybe they are being a bit too simplistic."

Hughes admits City lacked 'energy'

Robinho will return to City's starting line-up against the German side and Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge and Vincent Kompany - who were left out of City's squad for the Fulham game - should all be involved too.

But Craig Bellamy will be absent and needs a scan to find out the extent of his knee injury, while midfielder Nigel de Jong and striker Bojinov are ineligible.

Hughes admitted his side were poor against Fulham and knows they will have to improve dramatically if they are to progress in Europe.

606: DEBATE

"We have been fighting on two fronts, in the Premier League and in Europe," said Hughes. "Maybe today is when it caught up with us.

"I needed to get some energy into the side and hopefully we will be in better shape for Thursday, which is a key game for us.

"We are looking to finish the season strongly and now we are looking to peg back a two-goal deficit against what I consider to be the best side in Germany.

"It is a tall ask but we will give it our best shot."



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see also
Man City 1-3 Fulham
12 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Premier League as it happened
12 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
12 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Hamburg 3-1 Man City
09 Apr 09 |  Europe
Hughes quashes Robinho rift talk
25 Mar 09 |  Man City
No charges after Robinho arrest
06 Apr 09 |  Manchester
Man City poised to fine Robinho
27 Jan 09 |  Man City
Robinho makes Man City move gaffe
04 Sep 08 |  Man City
Man City beat Chelsea to Robinho
01 Sep 08 |  Man City



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