Sinking Milan sack Allegri after shock defeat to Sassuolo

AFP, MILAN

Tue, Jan 14, 2014 - Page 20

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

Milan are 11th in Serie A, 30 points adrift of leaders Juventus and 20 behind SSC Napoli, who occupy the third and last Champions League qualifying spot.

“AC Milan announces that it has dismissed as coach of the first team, with immediate effect, Mr Massimiliano Allegri and his staff ... The team will be run on a caretaker basis by Mr Mauro Tassotti,” the club said in a statement on www.acmilan.it.

For the second straight season, Allegri’s side have struggled to keep pace in the league, as Juve, AS Roma and Napoli lay an early claim to Serie A’s three allocated Champions League places.

Sunday’s defeat appeared to have sealed Allegri’s fate and he came under attack from Milan vice CEO Barbara Berlusconi.

Berlusconi — daughter of the club’s owner and president, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi — launched an attack on club CEO Adriano Galliani prior to Christmas and on Sunday, pointed the finger directly at Allegri, saying 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 for the 2010-2011 season and won the Scudetto. Milan finished runners-up the following season, but Allegri saw his side decimated as a host of key players left the club.

Italian media yesterday said Milan may call on youth team coach and former striker Filippo Inzaghi to step in until the end of the season, when former midfielder Seedorf could take over.

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