Elano was offloaded to Galatasaray in August.
"Under Sven, Elano got away with anything," Ireland told the Guardian. "It was Elano's world, to be honest. The gaffer came in and there were massive changes, and Elano couldn't adjust. He's a great guy, a nice guy, I got on great with him, and he's a very talented player, but he could have added a lot more to his game and been a lot better than what he is.
"Even with Elano, he didn't play too often last year but when he did play, he did improve. He might not say that himself, but he added an awful lot to his game, which I think was down to the gaffer - but I don't think Elano would admit that or even realise it."