Serie A club Empoli dampened coach Aurelio Andreazzoli's 65th birthday celebrations on Monday by sacking him after a poor run of results.
He was dismissed despite leading Empoli back into the top flight last season when they won the Serie B title by 13 points.
"To Andreazzoli, the main protagonist in that wonderful journey last season which allowed us to return to the big stage of the highest league, we send the most heartfelt thanks for his work," said the club in a statement.
Napoli forward Dries Mertens scored a hat-trick to lead his side to a 5-1 rout of Empoli in Serie A on Friday, moving them back into second place in the standings.
Lorenzo Insigne gave Napoli a ninth-minute lead before Mertens opened his account, placing a low shot past Ivan Provedal into the far corner from just outside the penalty area in the 38th minute.
Francesco Caputo pulled one back just before the hour for Empoli only for Mertens to strike again, this time stroking a nonchalant effort over...