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Football: WE MUST TRUST THE GAFFER OVER STAM SACKING; Giggs: Sir Alex always does what is best for the club UNITED STAR BREAKS DRESSING ROOM SILENCE.

Byline: John CROSS

RYAN GIGGS last night insisted Sir Alex Ferguson will prove everyone wrong over the shock sale of Jaap Stam.

Fergie ruthlessly sold Stam to Italian club Lazio for pounds 16.5million in one of the most amazing transfers of his 15-year reign at Old Trafford.

Dutch defender Stam paid the price for causing dressing room unrest with his explosive autobiography Head To Head.

But Giggs claimed that Fergie has sold even bigger names in the past - and has always proved the critics wrong.

Ferguson rocked Old Trafford when he sold heroes Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis, and United continued to rule English football.

Giggs insists that Ferguson would have sold Stam for the right reasons - but refused to discuss whether his former team-mate had suffered any dressing room backlash.

Welsh winger Giggs said: "He's gone and the manager has made his decision. But the manager always does what he thinks best for Manchester United.

"He's always proved so many people wrong in the past and you've just got to trust him, it's as simple as that.

"The manager has got a great knack of getting the right players in and that's been part of the reason for his success. His record speaks for itself."

Stam's amazing revelations, which were serialised in The Mirror, added to United's unhappy start to the season.

Dutch stopper Stam described the Neville brothers as "busy c***s", claimed Fergie "tapped him up" and said the United boss encouraged his players to dive against European opposition.

Ferguson vehemently denied the sale was because of the row, even though Lazio general manager Massimo Cragnotti insisted they only moved for Stam after the book bust-up.

Stam's departure leaves United facing problems after a poor start to the season by their standards after they had a gruelling pre-season tour of the Far East and lost the Charity Shield to Liverpool.

The have won only once in the Premiership so far.

While Giggs denies it, the bad start and the Stam row must have rocked the Old Trafford dressing room and given United's main title rivals fresh hope.

But Giggs insists the whole United squad are on a mission to put things right and ensure Ferguson enjoys another glorious season before he retires next summer.

Giggs said: "You can't hide from the fact that it's his last season. It will be spoken about so much and we obviously want to do well for him. The manager has won things throughout his career and he, more than anyone else, wants to go out on a winning note.

"We know that we'll win trophies every season if we play well. At the moment we know we haven't been playing at our best.

"Personally, I'm still missing some sharpness which only comes after six or seven games, and we did a lot of travelling in pre-season so maybe a few players are feeling the same way. It was tough against Blackburn as they have just come up and, like when we drew at Ipswich in the second game last season, they had a point to prove in their first home game.

"Aston Villa gave us a really hard game on Sunday but they were maybe sharper and fitter because they've played more games in the InterToto Cup.

"But we'll be all right. We made _ a similar start last year, in drawing two and winning one - and look what happened."

Giggs also insists that big-money summer buys Juan Sebastian Veron and Ruud van Nistelrooy will prove to be huge successes in the Premiership.

Dutch striker van Nistelrooy has made a big impact since his pounds 18m move from PSV Eindhoven but Argentine star Veron's start has been more low-key.

Giggs added: "New players in new countries always take time to settle.

"But the players we've signed are top quality and there is no doubt about that.

"Ruud has proved what he can do by scoring a couple of goals on his league debut and he's been brilliant in every game. He will be a huge success.

"Perhaps it will take longer for Veron.

"He's not used to the pace of the game here, as it's a lot slower in Italy, and he's had a lot of travelling with going back to Argentina for World Cup games."

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CAPTION(S):

DON'T LOOK BACK: Ryan Giggs says the sale of Stam will not halt United's progress; RE-UNITED: Stam and van Nistelrooy meet up with the Dutch squad yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2001
Words:766
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