SAO PAULO (AP) Defending Brazilian champion Fluminense hired coach Dorival Jr. on a five-match contract on Tuesday to try to keep the team from being relegated to the second division.
Dorival is replacing former Real Madrid and Brazil coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, who was fired on Monday after a nine-match winless streak left the team in the drop zone.
"I decided to take this job because I believe I can help Fluminense in this very difficult moment," he said told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro. "It's not a comfortable situation but the club can overcome it. We have to win points, win matches."
Dorival joins Fluminense just two weeks after being axed as coach of rival Vasco da Gama, which is also fighting to avoid relegation. The 51-year-old Dorival had already been fired by Flamengo earlier this year.
Fluminense said it is "confident" that Dorival will keep the team in the topflight. The four-time national champion is third from bottom in the league, one point adrift of Vasco da Gama. The bottom four clubs are relegated.
Club president Peter Siemsen said a coaching change was needed to give the team a renewed boost in the final matches.
"Dorival coached Atletico Mineiro in the same situation in 2010 and was able to keep the team from being relegated at the time," Siemsen said. "He has the experience."
A former defensive midfielder, Dorival coached Neymar's Santos to the 2010 Brazilian Cup title. Last year, he led Internacional to the Rio Grande do Sul state title, and in 2009 he brought Vasco da Gama back to the first division after relegation.
His debut with Fluminense will be against last-place and already relegated Nautico on Thursday at the Maracana Stadium.
Fluminense, which also won the league title in 2010, is trying to avoid being the first defending champion to be relegated. The club is 18th in the 20-team Brazilian league standings with 36 points from 33 matches. The bottom four clubs will drop down to the second division.
Fluminense almost was relegated in 2009, but it won six of its last seven matches to just remain in the first division. It was relegated to the second division for the first time in the late 1990s.
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This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings