The Cameroon international played the full 90 minutes as QPR threw away the lead twice to lose 3-2 to Reading at Loftus Road.
Mbia joined the club from Marseille on transfer deadline day, and Hughes insists that the 26-year-old will improve.
"I thought he did fine," said Hughes. "It was a different type of game from what he's used to but for the most part he looked strong and what a good player he will be for us.
"He hasn't played for a couple of weeks or had that many training sessions and I wasn't anticipating having to play him for the whole match.
"He came through it thankfully and will get better. It was a good test for him and he understands this is the type of games he will have to play in."
QPR host West Ham United in the Premier League on Monday night.