Inter, made to suffer the indignity of playing in the Coppa Italia qualifying rounds this season, sailed passed 10-man AS Cittadella 4-0 as coach Walter Mazzarri took charge of his first official game on Sunday.
Jonathan headed Inter ahead, Rodrigo Palacio scored twice, including one penalty, and Andrea Ranocchia completed the rout in the third qualifying round against the Serie B team.
Italy’s big guns usually sit out the early stages of the competition as the top eight teams in Serie A enter the fray in the round-of-16 the following season. Inter, though, paid the price for their dismal end to last season when they finished ninth.
Jonathan headed Inter in front from a Fredy Guarin cross in the 17th minute and Argentine forward Palacio converted a penalty on the half-hour mark after he was fouled by Simone Pecorini, who was sent off.
In front of a San Siro which was barely a quarter full, the other goals came in the second half as Palacio ran on to another Guarin pass and Ranocchia scored following a corner.
Mazzarri joined Inter after four seasons at SSC Napoli, where he built a strong attacking side which twice qualified for the UEFA Champions League and won the Coppa Italia in 2011-2012.
Andrea Stramaccioni was fired by Inter after last season’s campaign, even though club president Massimo Moratti had repeatedly said he was not at fault after his side were decimated by injuries.