By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Former Chinese Super League champions Shanghai SIPG have announced the departure of head coach Vitor Pereira, two years after the Portuguese led the club to their first and so far only league title.
Pereira took over at the start of 2018 from Andre Villas Boas and won the title in his first season, breaking Guangzhou Evergrande's seven-year stranglehold on the Chinese Super League trophy.
But a failure to defend the crown in 2019, when SIPG finished third, and the club's quarter-final exit from that season's Asian Champions League saw the pressure increase on the former Porto coach.
A fourth-place finish in the 2020 Chinese Super League was followed by a public falling out with former Brazil striker Hulk prior to the club's elimination from the Asian Champions League by Japan's Vissel Kobe in Qatar last month.
Hulk revealed he would not be signing a new contract with the club in November, but high profile foreign stars Oscar and Marko Arnautovic, plus former Premier League midfielder Aaron Mooy, remain on the club's books.
(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Alex Richardson)