AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri says he has spent his last Christmas at the club and will leave in the New Year after a troubled 2013.
The pressure has been building on the former Cagliari boss, who guided Milan to the Serie A title in 2011, and -- with the Rossoneri currently sitting 13th in the Serie A table, 17 points outside the Champions League places and 27 behind league leaders Juventus -- he now admits his time at the helm is coming to an end.
"I don't know who will be the new coach, it's not my problem," he told Gazzetta. "Certainly this is my last Christmas as a Milanista, but I've got to eat my panettone once again and, in truth, I never doubted that I would."
Asked what team he will leave behind, he added: "A good team who have endeared themselves to the fans for their way of being. A side who, with a few adjustments here and there, have a future."
All appeared to be going well for the Rossoneri as they overcame a potentially tricky Champions League playoff tie with PSV Eindhoven to take their place in the group stage at the end of August.
However, with just four wins in Serie A since, and only one victory in their last nine league matches, 2013 turned out to be a year to forget for Milan. The only solace was provided by reaching the last-16 of the Champions League.
"It was all right up to Aug. 28," Allegri told Sky. "The past four months in the league have been disastrous. We've reached an important objective in the last-16 [of the Champions League], but we're lagging behind in the league and we need to rise."
Milan clinched third spot in Serie A last May off the back of the best record of any side in the second half of the season. A similar turnaround in their form may not be good enough to qualify for the Champions League once again, though.
"We're focusing on a great Champions League campaign in 2014," Allegri added. "I'm optimistic, even though we'll be without [Sulley] Muntari and [Riccardo] Montolivo for the first leg [against Atletico Madrid]. Then we've also got the Coppa Italia and while third spot may be a long way away, we'll do all we can to get there."
Milan's first game of the calendar year comes against Atalanta on Monday. The two sides are separated by a single point with only five currently distancing the Rossoneri from the relegation zone.