Elano: I want to be playing
Elano has presented under-pressure Manchester City manager Mark Hughes with an additional headache by speaking out over his lack of regular first-team action this term. The Brazilian attacking midfielder was City's outstanding performer during the first half of last season, after being signed by Sven-Goran Eriksson from Shakhtar Donetsk.
But the 27-year-old has become a peripheral figure under Eriksson's successor Hughes, who is unlikely to be impressed by the player's decision to air his grievances in public at a time when City are hovering just one point above the relegation zone.
In a television interview, Elano complained about being left out of the starting line-up for recent matches, while attempting to stress that he was not disputing Hughes's authority. "It's his right (to leave me out), he is the manager," he said.
". I can't hide that from the fans or the president, who wants to make this a big club. I think I have the capabilities to be playing."
Hughes has been assured by City's Abu Dhabi owners that his position is secure, despite a run in which they have won just once in their last seven league matches, and that he will be given funds to strengthen the squad in January. Elano's outburst, however, will do nothing to improve the manager's standing in the eyes of his superiors.
There may also be concern in Abu Dhabi that the former Santos player's unhappiness could affect fellow Brazilian Robinho, whose form since his £32.5m move from Real Madrid has been the one bright spot in City's otherwise disappointing start to the season.
Hughes, who was due in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday for a meeting with City's owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, was reassured that his position is not under threat by the club chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, at the weekend. "The chairman understands where we are, and of course ideally we would prefer to have positive results at the moment," Hughes told the club's official website.
". At the moment you have to say that things are a little bit hysterical, people need to calm down a little bit and we will get points on the board."