Meet Enzo Maresca, Pochettino’s replacement tasked with revamping Chelsea

 Meet Enzo Maresca, Pochettino’s replacement tasked with revamping Chelsea

Chelsea has announced that Enzo Maresca will replace Mauricio Pochettino as their head coach after the Argentine left the London club by ‘mutual concent’ having been in charge at Stamford Bridge for just one year.

Maresca is not a very popular name in football and most fans know little or nothing about the 44-year-old except that he was Pep Guardiola’s assistant and that he had just led Leicester City from championship to Premier league and they should be forgiven given the fact that he is yet to manage any top-flight team.

Crispng digs further into his managerial background and the things Stamford Bridge faithful may expect from their new manager.

Maresca is a 44-year-old Italian native. He had a 19-year playing career as a midfielder before becoming a coach.

He began his playing career at AC Milan youth team before moving to England when he was 18 years old to join West Brom where he spent two years before signing a long-term deal with Juventus. He went on to play for 11 different clubs including clubs in Spain, and Greece before retiring at the age of 37 in 2017.

Three years later, he was hired for his first coaching position at Manchester City to manage their academy team.

After two years at City, Maresca was appointed his first head coaching position by Parma in 2021. But after a brief tenure, the team was unable to make progress as they won just four in 14 games with him as head coach, and he was fired the following season.

Maresca went back to Manchester City, this time under Pep Guardiola as an assistant, one year later, he was handed his first head coaching position in England, moving down a tier to take charge of Leicester City, who had recently been demoted to the Championship.

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Maresca led the team to the top of the table in his first five months, winning Championship Manager of the Month three times in the process. Leicester eventually finished first in the league with 97 points, earning them an automatic promotion back to the Premier League.

Maresca’s style of play

Enzo Maresca plays by the famous Sir Alex Ferguson rule, “With the ball, all players are attackers; without the ball, all players are defenders,”. Consequently, his team is more likely to accumulate in traffic and in the middle of the pitch, which encourages the opponent to apply pressure.

After that, the opposition is dragged, creating room in the attacking third. His players often seem to construct forms with four corners, which allows Number-8s more flexibility when working in cramped areas. He likes to use effective man-to-man pressing to press high up the pitch when the ball is not being moved. In order to counter press and recover the ball by getting more men within the pitch, his fullbacks, on the other hand, are inverted within the pitch.

Maresca places a great importance on a deep build-up with quick passes from the back line. A key component of this tactic is the keeper, who frequently joins the back line. When necessary, this helps produce an overload—typically in response to an opponent’s player-oriented press.

His team usually have a great off-ball positioning and they use man-to-man marking to close gaps and apply pressure.

Just like his former boss’ philosophy, Maresca the Goalkeeper plays a major role in his build-up. The goalkeeper joins the back line to gain help gain more possession of the ball. His players, however, line up in a 4-5-1 defensive formation when the ball is out of possession in order to stop passes that break the line and free up the back four to concentrate on opponent runs.

When the game gets on, Enzo Maresca switches his team from a 4-1-4-1 structure he usually starts with to a three-man backline with a single pivot, with each fullback having a different role.

In one scenario, the three centre backs align themselves narrowly, providing space along the touchline and centre for the two midfielders to create one-on-one chances for the wingers and attacking midfielders to make runs or keep the ball moving until the right moment. In another scenario, they position themselves wide, giving the midfielders enough room to control the middle.

There seem to be chances for the Italian to guide Chelsea to their proper position now that he has signed a five-year contract to become manager of the club starting in the next season.

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