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Monday, July 15, 2024

4 takeaways from Enzo Maresca’s first Chelsea interview

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The Chelsea stars are back at Cobham and already getting a taste of life under new manager Enzo Maresca.

The Italian, who replaced Mauricio Pochettino in the dugout this summer, recently sat down with Chelsea media for his first official interview, offering fans an insight into what they can expect with him at the helm.

Here are four of the biggest talking points from Maresca’s interview.


Learning from Pochettino’s struggles with fans

Mauricio Pochettino
Pochettino regularly spoke about his challenging relationship with fans / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Many Chelsea fans struggled to take to Pochettino from the outset, fearing his past with Tottenham Hotspur meant he could never truly care about the Blues. That negativity persisted throughout the season and ended with chants of Jose Mourinho’s name ringing around the stadium.

While Maresca has no rival history to worry about – the FA Cup quarter-final scrap last March wasn’t that deep – the new boss made it clear that getting fans behind him early on is vital as he called on supporters to bring the sort of positivity that Moises Caicedo and other new faces felt they were starved of last year.

“In this moment, when you join a club you try to analyse what the club and team needs to improve and do the right things,” Maresca said. “For me, it’s clear we need to create as soon as possible the right mentality and culture, a culture that the fans can be proud of. This is very important.

“We are going to try to be an aggressive team on the ball and off the ball and we need to create this connection between the fans and the club, especially at home.

“When you have your own fans behind the team pushing, it’s like playing with 12 players and this is what we have to create here.”


Sticking to his style

Enzo Maresca
Maresca brought a unique style of play to Leicester / George Wood/GettyImages

Maresca’s Leicester played a unique style of football which, while not void of flaws, often captivated those who watched the Foxes’ push to Championship glory last season.

The current Chelsea squad is not exactly built for Maresca’s style of play – inverted full-backs, goalscoring wingers and elite-level passing from a goalkeeper – but the boss is not worried about making his tactics work at Stamford Bridge.

“I think every manager has their own idea or style. Mine is quite clear,” Maresca said. “Last year was very good but that is finished. It’s a new chapter, a new squad and a new club. I’m very happy to be here.”

He concluded: “Just trust the process, trust the idea, be behind the team. For sure we are going to enjoy the journey. Like at every club, for every manager, it will not be easy because nothing is easy. But for sure we are going to enjoy our journey.”


Eyeing immediate success

Ricardo Pereira, Marc Albrighton, Jamie Vardy, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Enzo Maresca
Maresca expects results / Nathan Stirk/GettyImages

While Chelsea remain in a state of confusion and transition, the Blues still come with a reputation as serial winners. The layer of dust on the trophy cabinet may have been getting thicker and thicker recently, but the sheer amount of money thrown around at Stamford Bridge demands success.

Nobody is expecting Maresca to turn Chelsea into title contenders immediately, but the new boss is aware that he will be judged on his ability to win trophies.

“It’s the main point because when you join a club like Chelsea, you know that it’s a club that has to win,” Maresca reflected. “So for us, we are going to try our best to be there, to fight and compete with the clubs that in this moment are winning and fighting to win titles.”

He also clearly has faith in the players on offer to him, adding: “One of the reasons I’m here is because I’m convinced the squad is very good and full of talent. The most important thing now is we’re able to create the right culture that drives us for the season.”


He comes prepared

Enzo Maresca
Maresca has spent time preparing / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Maresca was known to be immersing himself in footage from all of Chelsea’s games last season over the summer, so much so that fans on social media began jokingly wondering whether they should be concerned for his wellbeing.

With the scale of the job on offer here, Maresca clearly has no desire to leave anything to chance and has prepared himself as well as possible.

“I already feel I know all of [the players] to be honest because I’ve watched so many games in the last two or three weeks,” Maresca said. “So I feel I know all of them.

“But it’s always different when you spend day by day with the person. You can see them through games but when you spend day by day with the players, with the human beings, the people, you receive a different kind of feeling.”

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