Enzo Maresca shows true colours over Pep Guardiola comparison with ten-word Chelsea message

Enzo Maresca
-Credit: (Image: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC)

If you were expecting chat about Pep Guardiola during Enzo Maresca's first press conference as Chelsea head coach, you would have been disappointed.

There was not one mention of the Manchester City manager, the person Maresca worked under at the Etihad Stadium during the club's famous treble-winning 2022/23 campaign. The fact he worked under Guardiola, coupled with his possession-based style of football - comparisons were always going to be made between the two.

However, during his Championship-clinching 2023/24 season where he led Leicester City back to the Premier League, Maresca was left far from impressed with constant questions from journalists about Guardiola. Speaking in one of his first press conferences as Foxes boss last summer, Maresca was asked the inevitable question about Guardiola.

It was clear, though, he was keen to shrug off any comparisons between the two. Asked what his biggest learning from the City boss was, Maresca wiped his forehead and replied, simply, with: "Passion" - making it abundantly clear he will not entertain such questions all season-long.

They did come, though, and for Maresca it seemed to be a source of frustration. It is up to him to get rid of those comparisons.

Maresca is undoubtedly a Guardiola disciple, just as Mikel Arteta has been called in the past. Arteta, though, while not winning too much in the way of major honours at Arsenal, has enjoyed success and development at the Emirates Stadium - and now comparisons between him and Pep are way less frequent.

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"I think every manager has their own idea or style," Maresca explained during his first interview as Chelsea head coach. "Mine is quite clear.

"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."

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He added: "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. 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, like playing with 12 players and this is what we have to create here."

Maresca will get to know a lot of his players at Cobham today as those not on international duty slowly return for pre-season. In under two weeks' time, the Chelsea squad will jet off to the United States as they embark on another pre-season tour of America this summer.