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Football: Fergie nose his team can win it; MANCHESTER UNITED v BAYER LEVERKUSEN.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON knows his Manchester United stars want to reclaim the European Cup - because he can smell it.

Fergie believes his side have recaptured the all-conquering spirit that saw them crowned kings of Europe in the Treble-winning season of 1999.

United take on Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford tonight in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final - and Ferguson is confident of success.

He said: "Our performances in beating Deportivo La Coruna in the quarter-finals were our best in Europe for years, maybe our best ever. Since then, the feeling among the players has been incredible. I can smell these things, I know when they're right. And I can tell you the feeling is very right at the moment.

"We're showing more composure than we did in 1999.

"The only real comparison between that year and this one is the spirit, which is first class."

United, without captain Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ronny Johnsen, recall Juan Sebastian Veron after three games out injured.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 24, 2002
Words:166
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