Enzo Maresca announced as new Chelsea manager to replace Mauricio Pochettino on long-term contract

The Italian departs Leicester City following promotion from the Championship to succeed Pochettino, who was sacked despite winning his last five matches of the season

Richard Jolly
Monday 03 June 2024 15:09
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Mauricio Pochettino leaves Chelsea after just one season in charge

Chelsea have confirmed Enzo Maresca as their new head coach to succeed Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues sacked Pochettino at the end of last season, despite a five-game win streak to guide the Blues to European football.

An extensive search saw the likes of Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna, former Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi and Brentford head coach Thomas Frank all linked with the position. But Maresca became the preferred candidate after winning the Championship in his first season with the Foxes and will cost the Blues in the region of £10m in compensation.

He has been given a five-year contract at the Bridge, with the club holding the option of a further year’s extension.

Chelsea have turned to the 44-year-old Italian after considering other candidates, with Pep Guardiola’s assistant manager during Manchester City’s treble-winning season of 2022-23, impressing due to his style of play.

Maresca enjoyed two spells at the Etihad Stadium interrupted by his first taste of management, a 14-game stint at Parma.

But he proved a big hit at Leicester, earning 97 points to secure the Foxes an immediate return to the Premier League and forging a reputation for playing passing football and improving young players.

Maresca becomes the fourth permanent manager of Clearlake Capital’s two-year reign, after Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Pochettino.

“We are delighted to welcome Enzo to Chelsea. He has proven himself to be an excellent coach capable of delivering impressive results with an exciting and identifiable style,” said a statement from Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, Chelsea’s co-sporting directors.

“Enzo has deeply impressed us in our discussions leading up to his appointment. His ambitions and work ethic align with those of the club. We thoroughly look forward to working with him.”

Maresca added: ”To join Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in the world, is a dream for any coach. It is why I am so excited by this opportunity.

“I look forward to working with a very talented group of players and staff to develop a team that continues the club’s tradition of success and makes our fans proud.”

Chelsea have opted for Enzo Maresca to succeed Mauricio Pochettino
Chelsea have opted for Enzo Maresca to succeed Mauricio Pochettino (Action Images via Reuters)

Maresca will have to contend with a play-off round in the Europa Conference League, with the first leg on 22 August, just days after the start of the new Premier League season, with the first round of fixtures beginning on 17 August.

Chelsea further confirmed that Willy Caballero, Danny Walker, Michele De Bernardin, Marcos Alvarez, Javi Molina and Roberto Vitiello will be on the coaching staff, while Ben Roberts join as goalkeeper coach and has been appointed to the role of head of global goalkeeping. Bernardo Cueva has been appointed to lead the set-piece department, the club added.

“He’s by far the best manager I’ve worked for,” Leicester midfielder Harry Winks, who worked under Pochettino at Tottenham for five years, told Sky Sports in March. “He’s incredible. I think everybody will say he’s going right to the top in [terms of] managerial stature. He’s got everything.

“He’s a great man-manager. He’s tactically incredible, some of the decisions that he tells us to do before the game and how he views the match is something I’ve never experienced before in football.

Enzo Maresca guided Leicester back to the Premier League
Enzo Maresca guided Leicester back to the Premier League (Getty Images)

“So, yeah, it’s opened my eyes a lot to football in the way it’s played and the kind of Pep Guardiola style as well, I know he worked with for a long time.

“I’m loving my football, it works perfectly for me. It’s exactly the kind of football that I want to play and buy into. I think since he has come in, I’ve learned so much and continue to do that.”

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