Champions Inter Milan begin the defence of their Serie A title against Bari on Sunday eager to make amends for their 2-1 Italian Super Cup defeat by Lazio in Beijing nearly a fortnight ago.
After storming to last season’s Scudetto, they appear well equipped to capture another despite the departure of Serie A’s top scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to Barcelona.
Nerazzurri fans have reason to be optimistic with the arrivals of Diego Milito and Thiago Motta from Genoa, defender Lucio from Bayern Munich and ex-Barcelona forward Samuel Etoo.
Despite the talent in the Inter side, Italy coach Marcello Lippi has predicted that it will be his former club Juventus and not Inter who will win the league title.
Lippi’s prediction has infuriated Mourinho, a coach who is easily drawn into controversy.
“I reiterate that a national team coach shouldn’t make a prediction regarding who will win the league title,” said Mourinho.
“Lippi did just that on TV. Would England manager Fabio Capello or Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque answer that type of question by naming a given team? I don’t think so because they are too intelligent to do that.”
Ciro Ferrara, who replaced Claudio Ranieri on a caretaker basis at the end of last season and was appointed full-time coach of Juve earlier this summer, will lead his men against Chievo on Sunday.
Juve have looked impressive in pre-season with top summer signing Diego having already shown his value.
The arrivals of ex-Fiorentina pair Sergio Almiron and Felipe Melo have strengthened the Bianconeri’s midfield line following the retirement of veteran Pavel Nedved.
AC Milan were unable to lure all of their summer targets but under new coach Leonardo, they still aim to challenge Inter and Juve for the scudetto.
It remains to be seen how Milan will adapt without their long-time tactician, Carlo Ancelotti, who has taken the reins of Chelsea. They will also have to move forward without Kaka, the former Milan star who joined Real Madrid.
Milan will make the journey to Tuscany to meet Siena on Sunday.
Fiorentina open the Serie A campaign at Bologna 24 hours earlier eager to join the top three teams in this season’s Champions League.
The Viola drew 2-2 at Sporting Lisbon earlier this week.
Roma are expecting a tough opening game at the Luigi Ferraris stadium where Genoa await them.
The Romans suffered a 3-1 defeat at Genoa last term.
Sunday’s game between Palermo and Napoli at La Favorita promises to be a fiercely contested game between two sides hoping to crack the top six this season.
Atalanta manager Angelo Gregucci will be looking for a more successful stint in his second Serie A coaching job after a disappointing spell at the helm of Lecce five years ago.
Gregucci, whose side travel to Rome to meet Lazio this weekend, was sacked by Lecce just five weeks into the 2005-06 campaign.
Promoted outfit Parma face a challenge from the start when they meet an Udinese side that only lost three of their 19 games at the Friuli stadium last season.
Sampdoria will make the journey to Sicily to meet Catania hoping to have a better start than they did last term when they failed to win any of their first four games.
Promoted side Livorno will be hoping top summer signing Cristiano Lucarelli can make an impact immediately when they entertain Cagliari in Leghorn.