Struggling Serie A giants AC Milan sacked coach Massimiliano Allegri yesterday, 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.
The club said in a statement: "AC Milan announces that it has dismissed as coach of the first team, with immediate effect, Mr Massimiliano Allegri and his staff.
"AC Milan would like to thank Mr Allegri and his staff for the work done and wishes them the best professional success. The team will be run on a caretaker basis by Mr Mauro Tassotti."
For the second successive season, Allegri's side have 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 Barbara Berlusconi, the club vice-CEO. Berlusconi, the daughter of club owner and president Silvio Berlusconi, had launched a scathing attack on club CEO Adriano Galliani before 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.
"A disappointing night, just like others, which confirms that a change is necessary and urgent," Berlusconi said. "We can no longer tolerate the fact that our fans have to put up with performances like these."
Allegri took over Milan for the 2010-2011 season and won the title in his first season.
Also yesterday, Livorno, who have slumped to second from bottom after losing their last four Serie A matches, sacked coach Davide Nicola. He led the club to promotion last season.