Soccer-Menezes furious after Corinthians lose 5-1

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Corinthians supporters chanted "we want players" and coach Mano Menezes branded their performance as unacceptatbe after the 2012 world club champions were thumped 5-1 by Santos in their first derby of the season.

"When you lose 5-1 in a Classico like this, it's because your opponents did nearly everything right and we did everything wrong," the former Brazil coach told reporters after Wednesday night's match.

"It was a very bad performance, low level and unacceptable for a team like ours with our capabilities. But it happened."

Arouca and Gabriel put Santos 2-0 ahead after 22 minutes of the Paulista championship match and, although Guilherme pulled one back for Corinthians, it was only a brief respite.

Two goals from Thiago Ribeiro and one from Bruno Peres in the second half, all involving Arouca, completed an abject evening for Corinthians.

Angry Corinthians fans protested and insulted forward Alexandre Pato towards the end of the match, even though the former AC Milan player was only on the pitch for the last 15 minutes.

Menezes coached Brazil for two years after the 2010 World Cup before being sacked to make way for Luiz Felipe Scolari, and made his comeback with Flamengo last year.

Former Sevilla and Porto forward Luis Fabiano scored a hat-trick to help Sao Paulo beat Rio Claro 6-3 in another of Wednesday's games.

Under the bizarre Paulista format, the 20 teams are divided into four groups of five and play only the teams from the other groups in the qualifying stage. The top two in each group qualify for the quarter-finals

The Paulista is one of the plethora of regional championships which kick off the Brazilian season. (Writing by Brian Homewood in London; Editing by Pritha Sarkar) )