Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini sacked Stefano Pioli after believing he had lost the support of the players.

Pioli was dismissed on Wednesday just three months after joining the club from Chievo.

With the team yet to play a Serie A game due to a strike postponing the opening weekend of fixtures, Zamparini's stance appears surprising but he insists he acted swiftly in the best interests of the club.

"I saw that the team was no longer following the coach so I had to intervene and sack him,'' Zamparini said.

"There was no confidence in him and I was worried that we would be heading in the wrong direction.''

Pioli follows Roberto Donadoni, sacked by Cagliari at the start of the month, in leaving his post before the Serie A season gets under way.

Youth team trainer Devis Mangia has been appointed as caretaker coach but Zamparini is already working on Pioli's full-time replacement.

"(Former Palermo coach) Delio Rossi has asked me to give him some time,'' Zamparini said. "I like him and he knows the players and the club well.

"I also like Claudio Ranieri and I contacted him but he might be considering other offers.

"In the meantime, we will continue as we are until one of the two (Rossi or Ranieri) becomes available.''