Hangeland was a key player for Fulham in the 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Sunday.
Hughes said: “Brede is one of those players that you don’t realise how good he is until you actually work with him.
“There are a number of those players at Fulham. In that sense, I was delighted with what I discovered there.
“As a ball-playing centre-half, Brede is as good as they come.
“He can see the type of passes he played in the build-up to our goal. He doesn’t just want to clear his lines.”
“On occasion he will get a little bit of criticism from me because we can sometimes overplay,” added Hughes.
“But it is great to see the kind of pass he played to Andy Johnson.”