Chelsea name Italian Maresca as coach – Sport

LONDON: Chelsea have appointed Enzo Maresca as their new head coach on a five-year contract, the English Premier League club said on Monday.

The Italian will leave Leicester City, whom he led to promotion back to the Premier League in his first season in charge, and begin his new role on July 1, Chelsea said in a statement.“

He has proven himself to be an excellent coach capable of delivering impressive results with an exciting and identifiable style,“ said Chelsea’s sporting co-directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley. “His ambitions and work ethic align with those of the club.”

Leicester were disappointed to see Maresca leave.

“With Enzo’s decision made and the boards terms for his departure met, we wish him well in his future endeavours,” they said in a statement. “He leaves with the appreciation of everyone at the Club for his work in helping us to achieve an immediate return to the Premier League.”

The 44-year-old replaced Mauricio Pochettino, who left the club last month after one season.

Under Argentine Pochettino, the west London side put together a strong run late in the season to finish sixth and secure European football, a marked improvement on their 12th-placed finish in the 2022-23 campaign.

Maresca will be tasked with returning Chelsea to the Champions League which they won for the second time in 2021 The 44-year-old previously coached Manchester City’s youth team and was the senior side’s assistant coach under Pep Guardiola during their treble-winning season.

His first managerial role came at Italian side Parma in 2021, where he lasted 14 games, winning only four times.

Maresca was appointed Leicester manager at the start of the 2023-24 Championship season, which they began in scintillating form, racking up an eight-point lead at the top of the second tier by the end of 2023.

Leicester struggled at times in the second half of the season and were beset by off-field issues, but Maresca guided them back to the Premier League as they secured automatic promotion and finished top of the standings.

“To join Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in the world, is a dream for any coach,” he said. “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.”

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2024

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