Inter coach Jose Mourinho has launched a furious attack on Marcello Lippi after the Italy boss said Juventus would win the league this season.
Mourinho was left fuming at the comments made by Lippi last night, adding that he could barely believe what he was reading.
"It's made me think a lot," Mourinho told Inter Channel. "The championship seems to be over before it's started.
"It's normal that journalists give their opinion and say 'Juve will win the title'.
"It's normal that Juventus directors and the coach say it, but it's the first time I've read of a national coach saying these things.
"Even if he wants that, even if he thinks that, it's a lack of respect.
"I still want to think that it's not true (that he said it).
"It's the first time that I've read of a national coach, a person with such a great responsibility, saying such things.
"I'm expecting a reaction from national football."
Lippi, who steered Juve to five Serie A titles and the UEFA Champions League during two spells in charge of the Bianconeri, insisted today that he meant no harm and that it was only a simple prediction that has been exaggerated.
"I'm sorry if Mourinho has given this interpretation," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It was simply a prediction, one of a thousand hypothesis that are made before the start of the championship."
That has done little to appease Mourinho, who this evening added: "Exaggerate? Certainly not on my part.
"Because if it was a prediction, as Lippi has confirmed, it was an exaggerated prediction that the coach of Italian football should never make.
"And it doesn't matter if in previous interviews Lippi has spoken well of Inter or other clubs.
"Last night the national team coach gave a precise opinion on a championship that is yet to start.
"This doesn't sit well with me and I say it, calmly, as a club coach to the national team coach."
The new Serie A season is set to kick-off this weekend with Inter, who took the Scudetto by a 10-point margin over Juve last season, looking for a fourth successive crown.
Source: Press Association Sport