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Thursday, 16 August, 2001, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Stam regrets ref chase
Jaap Stam has admitted that the Manchester United players who surrounded referee Andy D'Urso during last season's clash with Middlesbrough were wrong to do so.
The incident happened after D'Urso awarded a penalty to Boro following Stam's challenge on Juninho.
Stam said in his autobiography: "Everyone has seen that infamous picture of us crowding around the referee.
"Roy Keane's veins on his face and neck were standing out so much they could burst. I have to say it doesn't look pretty.
"With hindsight, our actions were daft, as the referee was never going to change his mind.
"But we felt we had to do something. We thought he had made a mistake and we were desperate to tell him that."
The Dutch international confessed to be "boiling with rage" when he saw D'Urso pointing to the spot after what the defender thought was a legitimate tackle on Juninho.
But Stam believes D'Urso was partly to blame for the incident looking so bad after failing to stamp his authority on the situation.
He said: "My head went when I heard the whistle and I thought there was no way it could be a penalty, because I'd won the ball.
"By the time the reality of the situation had sunk in, Gary Neville was already chasing the referee, demanding he change his mind.
"I was close behind and as D'Urso kept backing away, I strode forward to air my disgust.
"He kept running backwards and that made it look worse. If he'd stood still and talked to us, I doubt whether much would have been made of it.
And Stam revealed that the United players incurred the wrath of boss Sir Alex Ferguson after their protest.
He added: "Fergie made it clear it was never to happen again and said: 'I know you all want to win desperately, but you have to be more careful about the way you deal with these sort of situations.
"'It didn't look good and has put us in the spotlight again for all the wrong reasons. Talk to him during the game, but not like that'.
"Fergie was absolutely right and we learned our lesson that afternoon."
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