AC Milan have announced the departure of boss Vincenzo Montella after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Torino.
The result left Milan seventh in Serie A, and the gap to fourth-placed Roma, and Champions League football next season, has grown to 11 points, while the Giallorossi have a game in hand.
Milan, who spent over €200 million in the summer, have now placed their former midfielder Gennaro Gattuso in charge of the first team as they try to rescue their season.
In a statement posted on the club’s official website, Milan said: “AC Milan announce to have parted ways with coach Vincenzo Montella. We are very grateful to Mr. Montella and his staff for all the work done up to today, their commitment and professionalism.
“Management of the first team is entrusted to Gennaro Gattuso, who leaves his position as Primavera coach and to whom AC Milan wish the best of luck.
“A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow to present the new coach at Milanello training centre.”
Vincenzo Montella admitted leaving Milan was “very painful” but he said he would continue to support the club, while admitting he “failed” in his assignment.
“Leaving Milan is very painful,” Montella wrote on Instagram. “I tried to give all I have got for this club, but I accept the decision which has been taken. I would like to thank the players and you, the fans, for the beautiful moments we spent together, hoping that Milan will get back up there where they belong.
“I evidently failed, but I will keep on supporting these colours.”
Having already played against all the clubs above them in the Serie A standings, Milan’s next five fixtures come against sides below them, starting with a trip to rock-bottom Benevento next weekend.
That is followed by a home game with Bologna and a trip to Hellas Verona before they host Atalanta on Dec. 23 and end the year at Fiorentina.
Milan need to see some improvement in results if they are to finish in the European qualification places, although their general manager, Marco Fassone, said earlier this month that the Serie A club would be able to survive without Champions League football next season.
There is also mounting speculation in Italy that Milan will not be admitted to either the Champions League or the Europa League due to alleged financial irregularities over the takeover of the club last April.
However, sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli — speaking prior to the news of Montella’s dismissal — was categorical in denying there being any cause for concern after a meeting with UEFA last week in which they were asked to provide further documentation regarding the deal.
“That’s fantasy football — Milan will never be banned from Europe,” Mirabelli told Mediaset. “The fans don’t need to worry.”
ESPN FC’s Italy correspondent, Ben Gladwell, contributed to this report.
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.