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YOU'RE A DUD DESCHAMPS; Cantona brands Juve star a water carrier.

Eric Cantona kicked off a Champions League row when he branded Juve star Didier Deschamps a diddy.

The Manchester United skipper launched an amazing attack on his former international team-mate in a French newspaper.

Cantona stirred up emotions before tonight's epic tie in Turin when he blasted: "Deschamps gets by because he always gives 100 per cent, but he will never be anything more than a water carrier.

"You can find players like him on every street corner. At present Didier likes to act like a monk and a moralist, but he'll end up wallowing in every kind of vice.

"The only two decent French players in Italy are Youri Djorkaeff and Zinedine Zidane - and the rest are nothing special."

Deschamps was livid at becoming the laughing stock of his Juventus team- mates and he stoked up the war of words with a dig at Cantona's lack of European success.

He blasted back: "How many players can you find on street corners who have won two European Cups?

"Besides, every team needs its water carriers. I've not had any difficulties with Eric during the five years we've spent together in the French national side, although we have never been pals.

"When I see him on Wednesday I'll ask him exactly what he meant.

"He might believe that I've played a part in him and David Ginola being left out by France, but I've never interfered in team selection.

"But Juventus against Manchester United is not just about Deschamps versus Cantona. It is a vital game for us and Eric is only one player among 11.

"If I have to tackle him, I'll do nothing I wouldn't do normally."

While the Frenchmen argue, it could be a Croat who hogs the headlines.

Alen Boksic might have been gunning Manchester United to glory, but instead he's ready to cripple their hopes.

Boksic is so highly rated by Juventus that once they had his signature from Lazio they were quite happy to let Champions' Cup final heroes Fabrizio Ravanelli and Gianluca Vialli leave to strut their stuff in the Premiership.

They have teamed the pounds 6million 26-year-old with Christian Vieri, a 23- year-old from Atalanta, and have a strikeforce that Alex Ferguson fears more than the old White Feather.

He said: "They have always been powerful, but they are even stronger now.

"Boksic maybe isn't as potent or regular a goalscorer as Ravanelli, but he's a very good player.

"We looked at getting him here and made an inquiry for him, but it was always on the cards that he would go to Juventus.

"They bought Vieri as part of the plan. He's a big, powerful lad, 6ft 2ins, well made and a big threat in the air.

"So they have plenty of ammunition to bring in to replace the old pair."

That's why United will give England defender Gary Pallister to the last minute to prove his fitness for the battle in the Stadio Delle Alpi.

Pallister twisted his knee at Derby last week and missed Saturday's 4- 0 destruction of Leeds.

His presence is crucial, especially if Ferguson decides to play with a more unfamiliar three-man back line.

He is already missing the pace of young Phil Neville on the flank, as well as the recuperating Roy Keane in midfield.

Fergie added: "Pally's worth waiting for. He's an important player, particularly with the height they've got up front."

The Juventus pair missed a hatful of chances in their opening Serie A game against Reggiana on Sunday.

It ended 1-1 draw and United may be catching them at the right time as Marcello Lippi tries to bed down his rebuilt side.

With new signings such as Jordi Cruyff, Karel Poborsky and Ronny Johnsen, United have a more continental flavour now to succeed where their last tilt ended in the humiliation at the hands of Barcelona and Gothenburg.

Fergie is desperate to restore the reputation of the English game.

He said: "In the last 10 years the European players have been going further away from English players tactically.

"Because the speed of the game is increasing throughout Europe - even in Italian and French football - the pressing of the ball and the energy needed to get through games has become more important than ever.

"English clubs face the difficulty of having to go through a Saturday- Wednesday-Saturday programme and then stepping into a European tie.

"But there is no doubt we have the quality to do well if we have learned our lessons from the past."

Cantona will be keen to win his Gallic battle with Deschamps and Zidane, the pounds 3.2million youngster who kept him out of Euro 96 and then flopped.

But if Juventus do have a weakness it may be at right-back where Moreno Torricelli, so influential in the cup final win over mighty Ajax, is suspended for the booking he picked up in that game.

Delighted Fergie said: "He is very important for them."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Goodman, Steve
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 11, 1996
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