The Rio de Janeiro-based club have decided to sack the veteran coach after just five months in charge as the weekend's defeat left them at the wrong end of the table
The 63-year-old coach had been under fire following Flamengo's disappointing start to life in the Brasileiro, and he was given his marching orders after the defeat in Belo Horizonte left the club in 10th place in the competition, with 15 points from 11 matches.
Zinho admitted that he had been thinking about this decision for some time and noted he plans to announce Santana's replacement before the club's match against Portuguesa on Thursday.
"I had been analysying the team's behaviour and the everyday work," Zinho told reporters. "His sacking was not specifically related to the defeat against Cruzeiro.
"The situation was unbearable.
"I hope to announce the new coach before the game [against Portuguesa]. Today was the day to speak to Joel, the board, the players and to find a temporary solution.
"I will search for a coach who fits my profile, who can work with a group which has a lot of youngsters. We want a winning coach."
According to Globoesporte, former Internacional coach Dorival Junior is red-hot favourite to take over the club, with Kashima Antlers boss Jorginho also mooted as a strong possibility.