Vieira savouring Champions League challenge with Manchester City

The former France captain says that the Premier League champions have learned from their failure on the continental stage last season and will improve in the coming campaign

Manchester City development executive, Patrick Vieira, believes that their qualification for the Champions League for a second straight season is a testament to the effort the club have put in over the years.

Under the ownership of Arab billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Roberto Mancini's men have established themselves as one of the major forces in English football, winning their first Premier League title last season.

However, their maiden campaign in Europe's top competition last season ended in a group-stage elimination, but Vieira feels that his squad's hunger and drive will see them progress further this time.

35/1 Manchester City are 35/1 with PaddyPower to beat Real Madrid 3-1 on Tuesday

"Every single player loves playing in the Champions League and as a club it is a mark of being up there with the best," he told

"It is a fantastic experience for the club, not just on the pitch but off it as well. This is why the club is working so hard, to compete against the best clubs in Europe.

"Last year gave us belief. It was exciting last year and when you have a good taste of something you want to go back again so it is really good to be involved again.

"When you have been really successful it gives you confidence and when you have the confidence you play with freedom and when you play with freedom that is when you play your best football."

Manchester City kick off their Champions League campaign with a trip to Real Madrid on September 19.