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  Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 04:33 GMT 05:33 UK
Fergie outlines Euro optimism
Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson: Upbeat about United's European prospects
Alex Ferguson says Manchester United will fear no-one when they enter the draw for the first group stages of the Champions League.

Ferguson saw his side sweep past the Hungarian champions Zalaegerszeg with a ruthless 5-0 drubbing in the second leg of their qualifying tie on Tuesday.

Two goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy and further strikes from Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave United a 5-1 aggregate win.

Looking ahead to the draw, Ferguson said: "We were not seeded four years ago and we ended up with Barcelona and Bayern Munich in our section.

Referring to the 1998-1999 campaign when United went on to win the Champions League, he added: "We responded to it then and we will respond to it again.

Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice
Van Nistelrooy grabbed two goals
"In the Champions League there is no real difference between the seeded and the non-seeded teams - we are just happy to be there."

Ferguson praised underdogs Zalaegerszeg for a spirited performance over the two legs.

But he said United's impressive first-half display at Old Trafford, in which they scored three times in the opening 21 minutes, would have beaten any loftier opponents.

"It wouldn't have mattered who we were playing against in the first half - it was a fantastic performance," he said.

"The pace of our passing was frightening at times and the players worked so hard to get us in a good position.

"Although I was confident of winning the match, I thought we would have to work hard and take nothing to chance to ensure our passage.

"I said at the time I'm not against a small team having its big night and they had that in Budapest when they beat us 1-0 - but this was our night."

Backlash

Ferguson, who saw Paul Scholes stretchered off with an ankle injury which could keep him out for a fortnight, also quashed speculation that Roy Keane might need a knee operation.

Asked about reports that one might be imminent, Ferguson said: "He is not having any sort of operation this week.

"Maybe there is a problem further down the line but he got through the full 90 minutes tonight and I just deal with facts."

Zalaegerszeg manager Peter Bozsic said he had feared an Old Trafford backlash after his side's shock first-leg victory.

"They exposed our defence brilliantly throughout and I have to admit that after the match I do not feel any injustice.

"David Beckham's free kick for the second goal was especially wonderful - no keeper in the world would have saved that."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"This time United dictated the tempo"
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"The first-half desire laid the foundation"
Manchester United's Ryan Giggs
"It was important we started well"

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