Allegri sacked

AC Milan's coach Massimiliano Allegri

SASSUOLO 4

(Domenico Berardi 15, 28, 41, 47)

AC MILAN 3

(Robinho 9, Mario Balotelli 13, Riccardo Montolivo 86)

Struggling Serie A giants AC Milan sacked coach Massimiliano Allegri yesterday, a day after a 4-3 league defeat by 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.

A statement on www.acmilan.it said: "AC Milan announce that they have 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 wish 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, AS Roma and Napoli lay early claim to Serie A's three allocated places in the Champions League.

Sunday's defeat by 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.

SCATHING ATTACK

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 back-pedalling.

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," Barbara Berlusconi said.

"We can no longer tolerate the fact that our fans have to put up with performances like these."

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-placed finish at the end of the season.

Galliani, credited with bringing in major signings who steered the club to huge success over the past two-and-a-half decades, pulled off another coup in signing Ricardo Kaka from Real Madrid on a free transfer in time for this season.

However, under Allegri, Milan have failed to gel as a team and began this season, like last, failing to play to their full potential.

Allegri stated two weeks ago this season would be his last at the helm of the San Siro giants, but Sunday's reverse sealed his departure earlier than expected.

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, when former midfielder Clarence Seedorf could take over.

Seedorf is currently under contract as a player with Botafogo in Brazil, but has been championed as Milan's future coach by Italian sports media.

Allegri not the only manager to go

Livorno yesterday sacked coach Davide Nicola two days after the Serie A strugglers' seventh defeat in eight games left them second bottom of the table on 13 points from 19 games.

Nicola becomes the second coaching casualty of the day in Italy, and eighth this season, following the sacking of AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri.

Livorno released a statement which said: "The club wish to announce the immediate dismissal of Davide Nicola as coach of the first team.

"We would like to thank the coach for his commitment, professionalism and dedication to the job."

Nicola, who during his playing career featured in only one season in Serie A for Siena, steered Livorno to promotion from Serie B to Italy's top flight last season.


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