The Ghana international received a rapturous welcome from fans as he replaced Carlos Salcido in the first half.
Pantsil produced a fine display that helped Fulham earn a 1-1 draw against City and his performance brought plaudits from Hughes.
"John's been great, he's had to wait his time," said Hughes. "I thought he did really well in fairness. He's made a real case to play next week as well. That's what you need to do, bide your time and when you get an opportunity, you've got to take it.
"I would expect him to be frustrated because he wants to play - every player at every Premier League club wants to play.
"But you can't always get into the side, and that's what happened to John. He had a little loss of form at the start of the season and lost his place but now he's got an opportunity to stay in the team."