Leicester City have announced Enzo Maresca as their new manager.
The 43-year-old, who has replaced Dean Smith and is tasked with getting them back to English football’s top division, has signed a three-year deal.
La nuova volpe è al commando ?? pic.twitter.com/SFwmQg1s7M
— Leicester City (@LCFC) June 16, 2023
“We have a big season ahead of us,” he said following his appointment.
“At the beginning, the target is to play in the best way we can. From there, we can build, day by day, our idea and our philosophy, and the most important thing is to try to win games.
“First of all, we’re going to give 100%, absolutely, because the club deserves this. It’s our job, our duty to do that. Then, as I said, day by day, step by step, absolutely we’re going to improve.”
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This will be the Italian’s second managerial job following an ill-fated brief stint at Parma in 2021 where he presided over 14 matches winning four of those matches while suffering five losses. However, according to Sky reporter Marco DeMicheli, he was not wholly to blame.
“It was not because of him,” he said. “The problem at Parma is that they had been relegated and there had been a change of ownership because an American businessman had bought the team. There were a lot of problems, many players coming and going from abroad. It was such a mess.
“He tried to play the City game with a very attacking line-up, using 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, but it was a very difficult situation at Parma. Those problems continued even after Maresca left. The problems were still there. They just lost the play-offs this season too.”
Maresca, who enjoyed a nearly two-decade playing career (turning out for the likes of West Brom, Juventus, Fiorentina, Sevilla, Malaga and Sampdoria), began coaching at Ascoli where he assisted Fulvio Fiorin before moving on to Sevilla where he served Vincenzo Montella.
The native of Pontecagnano Faiano graduated to being a technical coach at the Andalusian club before linking up with Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham as his right-hand man. He subsequently became Manchester City’s U23 coach and his performances there not only impressed Pep Guardiola but earned him a move to Parma though it wouldn’t be long until returning and this season just gone Maresca, who replaced Juanma Lillo, helped Guardiola mastermind a historic treble.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) June 17, 2023
Having worked alongside Guardiola, and subsequently absorbing his tactics and methods, it’s understandable to imagine Maresca’s approach will be similar. He’s not the first member of Guardiola’s coaching staff to become his own man. Prior to joining the Foxes he was linked with a number of clubs including Celtic and Southampton.
Unlike some of Guardiola’s proteges, we’ve seen Maresca go solo, across respective stints with Man City’s U23 side and Parma he’s taken charge of 42 matches consequently boasting a 54.8 winning percentage. Maresca also shares a 30-year friendship with Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi who in the past has said they share “similar ideas about how the game should be played”.
In terms of setting his team up he’s predominantly used four different formations with 4-2-3-1 (17 matches) being the most commonly deployed. He exclusively utilised a 3-4-1-2 (four matches) at Parma while 4-1-4-1 (11 matches) and 4-3-3 (10 matches) have been thrown out from time to time.
It’s likely he willl start with a 4-2-3-1 as Leicester get their Championship campaign underway. Regarding who’ll play in his system that remains to be seen as the club will be going through a summer of change with a number of previously key players moving to pastures new.