Eriksson told City's website: "The reason was before the match we had eight players out with injuries or sickness.
"Four of them were defenders and altogether in the whole squad we have seven defenders.
"So we had to pick someone to do the job and, believe it or not Elano, when he played club football in Brazil he was a right back.
"Also in the Copa America against Chile for Brazil he played at right back - so he has done it before and I think he showed that he could do the job.
"Of course if you expect a Micah Richards there, no, but the positions he took were good, he won some headers and when he got the ball, the quality was brilliant."