Enzo Maresca will make complex demand but Chelsea told he’s the best tactically

Enzo Maresca will make complex demand but Chelsea told he’s the best tactically

Leicester City defender Ricardo Pereira has claimed that incoming Chelsea boss Enzo Maresca is “the best coach I’ve had”. Following two spells with Man City either side of a return to Italy with Parma, Maresca was appointed as Leicester’s manager last June in their quest to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Not only did he achieve that feat, he had the Foxes at the top of the Championship table for virtually all of the season as he led them to the league title. Implementing his football philosophy on his Leicester players from the get-go, Pereira had to get used to a dual role as a right-back-turned-central-midfielder.

Under Maresca, the Portuguese star would not just stay in his usual position on the right side as he would always come into midfield when Leicester were in possession of the ball. It was a role the 30-year-old flourished in as he helped the Foxes seal an immediate return to the Premier League.

Pereira was not the only Leicester player to enjoy great success under Maresca, with Harry Winks, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Stephy Mavididi and Abdul Fatawu all excelling in the Italian’s team. Going on what he achieved in his year at Leicester, Chelsea will be hoping the 44-year-old can be an instant hit at Stamford Bridge.

Maresca will be tasked with getting the Blues back towards the top of the Premier League table and challenging for top honours at Stamford Bridge. Ahead of his arrival in west London, Pereira has given an insight into what Chelsea players can expect next season from Maresca.

“I like that he is direct,” said Pereira in an interview with Spanish publication Marca. “He maintains the mentality of a player and says things as they are. He takes great care of those who play the least and that is important.

“Tactically he is very good, the best coach I’ve had. His way of playing is complex… but the way he explains it makes it seem easy. We all know what we have to do… and what the rest is going to do.”

After becoming manager of Man City’s Elite Development squad in August 2020 before taking on the Parma hotseat, Maresca returned to the Etihad Stadium in June 2022 and was named as one of Pep Guardiola’s assistant managers. Guardiola’s influence on Maresca from their time working together at Man City is also clear to see.

“He has things like Pep [Guardiola],” explained the Portuguese player. “He wants to have possession; he looks to come out from behind…”

He added: “Throughout my career I have played almost everything. I love challenges. Now I play a lot inside. I’m almost a defensive midfielder in attack and I like it because I have a lot of ball and I can play fast, with one or two touches.”

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