Al-Ittihad issued an official statement announcing the dismissal of coach Nuno Santo from his position as a coach of the Saudi club after a year and a half spent within “Al Amid".
Al-Ittihad has experienced a state of decline in performance and results this season, as it is in sixth place in the Saudi league with 21 points after 12 rounds, and 11 points behind leaders Al-Hilal.
The decline extended to include the AFC Champions League, after Al-Ittihad suffered a heavy defeat from Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya by two goals without reply in the fourth round of the group stage.
Saudi newspapers earlier pointed to major differences between Nuno Santo and the players, the latest of which was with Karim Benzema, who went to the management and clearly demanded that the Portuguese be sacked as soon as possible.
It seems that under all this pressure, Ittihad decided that it was the right time to sack Santo, especially since the Club World Cup will start a month from now, and the club's fans wish to go far and achieve an advanced position in the tournament to be held in Jeddah.
Ittihad’s statement included the announcement that Hassan Khalifa will take over the task of coaching the team on an interim basis until a new foreign coach is hired.
Despite the current bad season, Nuno Santo's last season was historic with Al-Ittihad, after he led the Jeddah Tigers to the Saudi league title for the first time since 2009, in addition to achieving the Saudi Super Cup title in its new format.
In total, Santo led Ittihad in 52 matches in all competitions, winning 36 of them, drawing 9, while losing only 7 games, the team under his leadership scored 111 goals, conceding only 42 goals.