Sven elated with Elano

Last updated : 08 October 2007 By Ben Collins
The Brazilian star took one touch from Michael Johnson's back-heel before smashing a 25-yard drive past Mark Schwarzer to put the Blues 2-0 up in the 33rd minute.

Elano then sealed the points by lofting a delightful free-kick over the Boro wall in the 63rd minute, leaving Schwarzer stranded in the Boro goal.

That showed the range of Elano's skill after he smashed in a piledriver of a free-kick from fully 30 yards in last week's 3-1 win against Newcastle.

"He took another free-kick against Middlesbrough, different to the one last week, but once again he's done it extremely well," said Sven. "He also had a goal from a shot from distance, and he's getting better and better.

"If he can keep it up at this level, he'll be very happy, and we all will!"

It was clear right from the start of the campaign that Elano had great skill after he skinned West Ham's Matthew Upson to lay on City's opening goal of the season for Rolando Bianchi.

However, there were only flashes of that skill as he struggled to last the distance and came in and out of games.

Now, though, Elano has shown he is right up to speed and is using his ability to devastating effect.

"When we give him the ball, we know he will keep it - and now he is starting to score goals as well, so I can't ask for any more than that," said Sven.

"The big difference between Elano now and when he arrived is his fitness levels. He is fitter and stronger, and he works in the gym as well, which is good.

"Maybe he will not maintain that standard all the time, but maybe sometimes he will do even better. I certainly don't need to teach him about football."

Elano's fine form has meant he has retained his place in the Brazil squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Colombia (Oct 14) and Ecuador (Oct 17).