Massimiliano Allegri paid the price for AC Milan's lowly position in the Italian Serie A table Monday when the club announced he had been sacked as coach.
Milan has finished first, second and third under Allegri in the last three seasons, but the seven-time European champions sit in 11th place after 19 games of the 2013-14 season.
Crucially, the Rossoneri lies 20 points adrift of Napoli in the third and final qualifying position for the lucrative European Champions League.
Sunday's 4-3 defeat to lowly Sassuolo, a match which saw Allegri's charges go 2-0 up early in the first half, proved to be the final straw for Milan, which is owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
As Allegri acknowledged on the club's official website after the defeat: "The only objective set since I've been here has been a top three finish and we're far away from that now."
An official club statement read: "AC Milan wishes to communicate that Massimiliano Allegri and his staff have been relieved of their duties with immediate effect.
"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 in the meantime of the team."
Although qualification for next season's competition looks unlikely, Milan still has a Champions League last 16 tie with Spanish high-fliers Atletico Madrid to look forward to.
Whoever replaces Allegri will be able to call on the services of Keisuke Honda, the Japanese playmaker who made his debut for Milan on Sunday after completing his transfer from CSKA Moscow.