'Pep effect' - what national media are expecting from Enzo Maresca after Chelsea appointment

Enzo Maresca watching the Sky Bet Championship match between Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers
-Credit: (Image: MI News/NurPhoto)

Chelsea have finally confirmed the appointment of Enzo Maresca as their new head coach, and the nation has been quick to react.

The Blues decided on the Italian as their new figure in the dugout, ending links with the likes of Kieran McKenna and Ruben Amorim in the process.

Maresca arrives at Stamford Bridge as somewhat of an unknown quantity, having only experienced life as a manager at Parma and Leicester City, both in the second division of their respective countries. It means he has plenty to prove at Stamford Bridge.

His success last season can be viewed as hugely encouraging after guiding Leicester to Championship glory, though a tougher test now awaits Pep Guardiola's former Manchester City assistant.

Chelsea will be hoping for an instant improvement from their new leader as they look to get back to challenging for Champions League football, which will require several first-team players to step up and prove their worth.

Listed below is how the national media have rated the Blues' incoming coach, with verdicts shared on whether they've made the correct call.

LIVE: Ousmane Dembele interest, Enzo Maresca appointment, Tosin Adarabioyo latest

READ MORE: Chelsea break transfer policy for Tosin Adarabioyo - but there is a good reason why

'A new direction'

John Percy of The Telegraph wrote: "His dedication to positional play and unwavering commitment to a philosophy has clearly caught the attention of Chelsea’s hierarchy. After Mikel Arteta’s success with Arsenal, the Pep effect on coaches is now shaping the recruitment process of clubs across England and Europe.

"Chelsea too are seeking a new direction after the decision to part company with Pochettino, and believe Maresca can provide it. Maresca will be content working under the current structure, where he can devote all his time and energy to his players and the training ground culture.

"Maresca has already worked with Cole Palmer at Manchester City, and he will be a focal point of the 4-3-3 formation that he likes to play. Full-backs will also be crucial to his style of play, with Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira and James Justin often moving inside to the midfield when the team was attacking. Willy Caballero, the former goalkeeper, is also one of Maresca’s coaches at Leicester and spent four years at Chelsea.

"A father of four, Maresca readily admits that he can never switch off from football. He regularly spent proposed days off at Leicester’s vast training ground to prepare for the next challenge."

'The ultimate coach'

Charlotte Duncker of The Times wrote: "In practice he wants his players to keep the ball, build up from the back with extensive passing, use inverted full-backs, intense pressing and specific patterns of play. Nothing, as in chess, is left to chance.

"He admires Johan Cruyff and uses a quote from the Dutchman to remind himself of his principles on a daily basis: “When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. So, the most important thing is: what do you do during those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball? That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.”

"The Leicester City players learnt that very quickly. After only a couple of training sessions some were describing Maresca as the “ultimate coach” because of his specific messages for each player and how he takes a hands-on approach in sessions, which are always with the ball rather than without."

'Guardiolaisation of football'

Richard Jolly of The Independent wrote: "There was a time when the qualifications required to manage Chelsea seemed to entail winning the Champions League, not the Championship. There is a history of Italian managers at Stamford Bridge but they used to arrive having taken charge of more games against Roma than Rotherham, Inter than Ipswich, Milan than Millwall.

"But perhaps Enzo Maresca is the most appropriate soon-to-be-confirmed appointment for the new Chelsea: many of their signings have been punts on potential, based on very little experience of first-team football at high levels but with the assumption they have a high ceiling. Enter a manager with a similar rawness: 14 games at Parma, one season at Leicester, neither of them in the first division in their respective countries. Once again, Chelsea believe they are the talent spotters supreme.

"Maresca can also be seen as part of the Guardiolaisation of football. At various points in 2024, Pep Guardiola’s former players or backroom staff will manage Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Thus far, there is most evidence the magic rubbed off on Xabi Alonso, who last played for the current Manchester City manager eight years ago. If they are not all mini-Peps, there seems a broader quest to adopt his ideas."

'Comprehensive knowledge'

Kieran Gill and Tom Collomosse of The Daily Mail wrote: "He is Chelsea’s chosen one, his name landed on after hours upon hours of deliberations inside their blue bunker at the Cobham training ground.

"Winstanley and Stewart have led this exhaustive search, each working 17-hour days ever since Mauricio Pochettino departed by mutual agreement on Tuesday last week. They had been wading through the pros and cons of every candidate alongside the club’s analytics department and Behdad Eghbali, the hands-on co-controlling owner who did not want to leave London for Los Angeles until this painstaking process had been seen through.

"The cold realisation of a second successive year without Champions League football led to Chelsea recalibrating their mindset. They conducted this search not only with a return to Europe’s elite competition in mind, but with a plan to be in the best position possible to ensure a long run once they are back where they truly want to be.

"They want stability for their structure, and the selection of Maresca has been endorsed by every executive, from Eghbali to Jose E Feliciano to Todd Boehly, while already there is said to be an excellent rapport between him and Winstanley and Stewart.

"Chelsea were struck by Maresca’s comprehensive knowledge of their squad when talks were held via his representatives, as well as his enthusiasm for the vacancy and vision for how he could get their school of starlets performing to their potential with his help."