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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 22:28 GMT
Ferguson pays tribute to Beckham
David Beckham played in Ruud van Nistelrooy for the second goal
Beckham set up van Nistelrooy
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted he had no intention of dropping David Beckham for the Champions League tie with Juventus despite a dressing-room bust-up.

United conjured a crucial 2-1 win over the Italian giants which leaves them poised for Champions League quarter-finals qualification.

The Premiership side were indebted to Beckham, who set up goals for Wes Brown and Ruud van Nistelrooy before Juventus grabbed a late consolation through Pavel Nedved.

The England captain was at the centre of a row after he was cut by a boot kicked by a furious Ferguson in the aftermath of their FA Cup defeat to Arsenal on Saturday.

"There was never any doubt about it, why wouldn't I pick him?" said Ferguson.

"People have misunderstood the situation - but that's the British way. My best team picks itself."

They scored so late on it was a bit of a sweat for 30 seconds
Sir Alex Ferguson

Juventus were depleted by a flu bug which hit a number of first-team players but Ferguson was more interested in his side's third straight win in phase two of the competition.

"It was a game of great quality and in terms of Europe you won't see a better game," said Ferguson.

"It was a good result for us. While I know they were missing three players they still showed what a quality side they are - probably a stronger one than us.

"But at the same time I think we showed that we have great quality in our side as well."

'Excellent position'

United went ahead after just four minutes when Brown headed home from Beckham's corner.

And they doubled the lead inside the last 10 minutes when Van Nistelrooy chipped the keeper from Beckham's pin-point through-ball.

"It was a marvellous ball from David Beckham and a great touch from Ruud," said Ferguson.

Ferguson's side have a five-point cushion at the top of Group D after FC Basle beat Deportivo La Coruna, and can clinch qualification with a point in Turin next week.

"We are in an excellent position now," said the United chief.

"I didn't expect Basle to win because they are coming out of their winter break but it was a good result for us. We only need a point now and hopefully we will get that next week."

Links to more Champions League stories


Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"We are very pleased with that"

Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy
"It was a great pass and a good finish"


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21 Feb 03 |  Champions League
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Milan master Moscow
19 Feb 03 |  Champions League

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