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Massimiliano Allegri says he has spent his last Christmas as coach of Milan

Dec 31, 2013, 7:06 PM EDT

FBL-ITA-EUR-C1-MILAN-ANDERLECHT Getty Images

In his first three seasons in Milan, Massimiliano Allegri’s teams never finished outside Italy’s top three, the former Cagliari boss able to overcoming an aging squad and his club’s diminished financial clout to keep the seven-time kings of Europe in Champions League. But with the Rossoneri sitting 13th in Serie A at the league’s winter break, criticisms of the manager’s performance have become amplified, with the departure of club vice president Adriano Galliani giving the 46-year-old boss a temporary reprieve.

Allegri, however, is under no illusions as to his future with Milan. Speaking to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, Allegri was euphemistic about his fate, predicting this will be his last season with the club.

From Reuters’ reporting:

“This is certainly my last Christmas at Milan but I have eaten panettone here once again and to be honest I had no doubt that I would,” he said, referring to the constant speculation about his future since early this season.

“I don’t know who will be the next coach and it’s not really my problem,” he added.

It’s a surprisingly fatalistic attitude, particularly given Milan is still alive in Champions League. Though nobody will make the Italians favorites over Atlético Madrid in the Round of 16, the team have the potential to go through, particularly if new acquisitions can be made in January. While the 17-point gap between Milan third place Napoli makes qualifying for next year’s Champions League highly unlikely, Allegri can still use this year’s tournament to try can salvage his season.

But for a team that bases so much of its identity on European success, the prospect of missing Champions League is bound to lead to more changes, with others potentially following Galliani out the door. For Allegri, that means not giving up on those top three hopes, no matter how slim they seem.

“For the new year we must try and reach third place,” Allegri told Sky Italia. “It’s a huge gap but we have to do all we can to get as many points as possible, even knowing that it will be difficult.”

Milan return from Italy’s winter break on Monday when they welcome 15th place Atalanta to the San Siro.

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