Jan 13 (Reuters) - AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was fired on Monday following a series of dismal results from the seven-times European champions.
"AC Milan wish to communicate that Massimiliano Allegri and his staff have been relieved of their duties with immediate effect", the Serie A club said in a statement.
"AC Milan would like to thank Mr Allegri and his staff for their time with the club and wish them the best for the future. Coach Mauro Tassotti will take charge of the team in the meantime."
Allegri was dismissed less than 24 hours after his team squandered a two-goal lead to lose 4-3 at promoted Sassuolo, conceding four times in just over half an hour.
The defeat left Milan languishing in 11th place in Serie A with 22 points from 19 games, 20 adrift of Napoli who occupy the Champions League playoff spot in third position.
Allegri's side have won only five league games all season.
The phlegmatic 46-year-old, in his fourth year at the club, has faced constant media speculation over his future in the last few weeks and said during the Christmas break that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season.
The writing was on the wall for Allegri when club director Barbara Berlusconi, daughter of club president Silvio, told the ANSA news agency that Sunday's performance was unacceptable.
"It was a disappointing evening that confirms it's necessary to change," she said. "It's not tolerable for our fans to watch unacceptable performances such as this."
Former Milan and Netherlands midfielder Clarence Seedorf, now with Brazilians Botafogo, is among the favourites to take over although he has no coaching experience.
Allegri took charge in 2010 and led Milan to the Serie A title in his first season and second place the year after.
His fortunes changed dramatically when the club sold several top players in the middle of 2012 to balance the books, saying they were putting the emphasis on youth.
Milan finished third last season but, plagued by injuries, have struggled domestically this term.
Despite their poor Serie A form, they are the only Italian survivors in this season's Champions League and face Atletico Madrid in the last 16 next month. (Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Tony Jimenez)