Struggling Serie A giants AC Milan sacked coach Massimiliano Allegri on Monday, a day after a 4-3 league defeat to league newcomers Sassuolo.
Milan are 11th in Serie A, 30 points behind leaders Juventus and 20 behind Napoli who occupy the third and last qualifying spot for the Champions League.
For the second successive season Allegri’s side has struggled to keep pace on the domestic front as Juventus, Roma and Napoli lay early claim to Serie A’s three allocated places in the Champions League.
Sunday’s defeat to Sassuolo, who scored four goals thanks to 19-year-old sensation Domenico Berardi, appeared to seal Allegri’s fate when he came under attack from club vice-CEO Barbara Berlusconi.
Berlusconi, the daughter of club owner and president Silvio Berlusconi, had launched a scathing attack on club CEO Adriano Galliani prior to Christmas which prompted the official to offer his resignation before eventually backpedalling.
On Sunday Berlusconi pointed the finger directly at Allegri and said an “urgent change” was needed at the helm of the seven-time European champions.
Allegri, who ironically played a pivotal role in leading Sassuolo into Serie B, took over Milan in time for the 2010/2011 season and won the title in his first season in charge.
Milan finished runners-up the following season but Allegri saw his side decimated as a host of key players -- among whom Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Clarence Seedorf -- all left the club.
Milan bought Mario Balotelli from Manchester City on a four-year deal last January in a bid to boost their forward line and scraped to a third-place finish at the end of the season.
Galliani, credited with bringing in major signings that steered the club to huge success over the past two-and-a-half decades, pulled off another coup in signing Kaka from Real Madrid on a free transfer for this season.
Italian media reports on Monday claimed Milan could call on youth team coach and former striker Filippo Inzaghi to step in as coach until the end of the season.