Vieira: I'm a better player now

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Patrick Vieira believes he is a better player now than he was when he left the Premier League four-and-a-half years ago.

Vieira will make his Manchester City debut against Blackburn at Eastlands providing he recovers from the niggling calf injury he picked up in his final game for Inter Milan last week.

The former Arsenal skipper found it difficult enough to impress Jose Mourinho in Italy, so the perceived wisdom is that he will struggle to adjust to life back in England, where the pace tends to be far higher.

"I am a better player for the experiences I have had. You get better with experience and age and I have been really lucky to play at big clubs. " said Vieira.

"I have learned a lot around big-name players and I have come back to the Premier League a better player than I used to be."

Vieira accepts he will not silence the doubters with words alone.

Performances are going to be key, although Roberto Mancini has already declared his faith in the Frenchman by stressing he expects his first signing as City chief to be a regular member of his starting line-up.

Ironically, Vieira spent a significant proportion of his introduction to the English media discussing Mancini. While the former Juventus star is a familiar face, having won three league titles with the Gunners and established himself as one of the fiercest Premier League enforcers, Mancini is largely an unknown quantity.

The City boss has already earned a lot of plaudits for the mature way he handled the furore surrounding Hughes' dismissal. And, with three wins from three games in charge, and no goals conceded, Mancini could hardly have made a better start.

"Mancini is a winner," declared Vieira.

"He is a really ambitious man. He came here because he knows he can achieve something. He will do everything for the team to be successful and win games."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Manchester City
Premier League
Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira

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