Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho accused Marcello Lippi of lacking respect on Tuesday after the Italy boss predicted his former club Juventus would win Serie A this season.
"It is the first time I read a national team coach, a person of great institutional responsibility, said the next championship will be won by a certain team, that is Juventus," Mourinho told Inter's in-house TV channel.
"Even if in his mind he wants this, I think just saying it is a lack of respect."
The intense rivalry of the two clubs has been especially strong since Inter were handed the 2006 crown after Juve were stripped of two titles and demoted to Serie B for their role in a match-fixing scandal.
Inter went on to win the next three Serie A titles too, last year under Mourinho. Lippi was taken aback by the Portuguese's reaction.
"I'm sorry if Mourinho has given this interpretation," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport's website. "It was simply a prediction, one of a thousand hypothesis that are made before the start of the championship."