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  Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 23:38 GMT
Ferguson hails Veron
Veron put his Manchester derby nightmare behind him
Veron put his Manchester derby nightmare behind him
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that European football brings out the best in Juan Sebastian Veron.

The Argentine slammed home the opener in the 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen and also played a significant role in the build-up to Ruud van Nistelrooy's strike for the second.

Veron has attracted plenty of criticism for some of his Premiership displays.

But the 29.1m midfielder was the key influence as United shrugged off last Saturday's embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

Though Veron has failed to score in domestic football this season, Wednesday's game saw him claim his fourth in five European matches during this Champions League campaign.

"Juan seems to be inspired by European football, he seems to revel in it," said the Manchester United manager.

Rio Ferdinand limped off late in the 2-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen
Ferdinand pulled up late in the game
"It wasn't an easy chance to take. His timing of the shot was terrific."

Following the Manchester derby defeat, Ferguson rested Gary and Phil Neville as well as Fabien Barthez and their absence allowed Quinton Fortune the chance to shine in central midfield.

"With Nicky Butt and Roy Keane missing, central midfield has been a bit of a problem for us and I felt it was worth experimenting with Quinton in that position," added Ferguson.

"He closed the German players down very quickly and didn't give them a lot of time on the ball. He did the simple things very well."

Less satisfactory for Ferguson was his side's hesistant start in which United were fortunate to escape a missed Jan Simak penalty.

Rio Ferdinand also picked up a new injury, hurting his thigh late in the game.

"We don't know the extent of the problem at the moment, we will assess the situation in the morning," said Ferguson.

The United manager also shrugged off fears that David Beckham had sustained a rib injury.

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Man Utd boss Alex Ferguson
"It was a good game to take part in"
Man Utd's Quinton Fortune
"Everyone worked hard tonight"

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