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The one word that says everything for Chelsea and Enzo Maresca after appointment

New Chelsea manager Enzo Maresca
-Credit: (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)


It has been over 10 years since Chelsea last appointed a 'manager.' Instead, for the seven permanent bosses to follow Jose Mourinho's return in 2013, there have been only 'head coaches.'

The difference this makes in reality is minimal. Managers are referred to in a number of ways but it is telling just how the times have changed. The inference is that clubs now prefer to have someone in charge of the players on the training ground, no longer ruling the roost.

This is reflected in the semantics around their appointment and job title. Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were managers. Graham Potter very much is a head coach. Enzo Maresca, the latest to take charge of Chelsea, unsurprisingly follows suit.

Much like Mauricio Pochettino before him, and even Frank Lampard, Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri, and Thomas Tuchel in the previous ownership's tenure, Maresca's primary remit will be to get the best of his squad. He is not needed to play a part in contract negotiations, he won't decide what shade of paint is applied at Cobham, and he won't even really be in control of the set-pieces at the club.

The rise of specialist coaches across the board is here. There are people for everything at a club, designed to put their expertise into each small section and improve the overall result and performance. For Maresca, it is down to him to combine this, manage his players, and somehow get them all moving forward as one slick machine.

Regardless of the lack of power he will be given, it demonstrates a lot. In a structure now led more and more by the owner's personal demands - as well as those from the co-sporting directors - Chelsea are a very head coach-y team.

READ MORE: Chelsea confirm Enzo Maresca appointment to replace Mauricio Pochettino as head coach

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Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley set the agenda under the watchful eye of Clearlake Capital co-founder and the increasingly influential Behdad Eghbali, whilst Joe Shields contributes on the recruitment side. Stewart and Shields specifically have had roles at Manchester City, a former employer of Maresca.

The lack of influence Pochettino was able to have in wider areas of the club was one the things that grated with him and ultimately led to the mutual parting last month. Potter, 12 months prior, had to watch as streams of players came into his squad mid-season without much say on the matter.

It was his role, as it was Pochettino's in 2023/24 despite making calls for more experience and doing everything but asking for Conor Gallagher to have his contract extended, to make do with the tools given to him. Discussions over positions and profiles can be made but it is not the coach's place to be that heavily involved in recruitment.

Although the club insist that they are not looking simply for a 'yes-man' to appease the sporting directors, it is obvious that there are strict parameters under which they must act to have even been considered in the first place. This comes with restrictions that other managers/coaches across the world might not have.

"We are delighted to welcome Enzo to Chelsea," the co-sporting directors said in the announcement on Monday. "He has proven himself to be an excellent coach capable of delivering impressive results with an exciting and identifiable style.

"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."

There is the C-word. Coach. "We are thrilled to welcome Enzo into the Chelsea family," add the owners. "We look forward to supporting him and the rest of the sporting team in fulfilling their potential and our expectations over the years to come.

"He is a highly gifted coach and leader that we are confident can help fulfill our vision and competitive goals for the Club." Coach again.

It is nothing new now to have this model in place but yet again it shows just how Chelsea wish to be run. For Maresca what is expected of him could not be clearer.