The first interview: Enzo Maresca (2024)

After a busy first week as Chelsea head coach, Enzo Maresca sat down to discuss taking on the role, his ambitions for the season ahead, getting down to work with the players, and building a relationship with supporters.

Welcome to Chelsea, Enzo. How does it feel to have joined the club?

‘I’m very happy and excited. It will be a fantastic journey and I’m excited to get started [with the players] as soon as possible.’

How has your first week been?

‘It’s been quite busy and that’s normal at the beginning. That’s always the same. You are trying to get to know all of the people around the training ground and some of the players who are already in. But the feeling is fantastic.’

You mention the players, it is a squad full of talent. How much are you looking forward to working with the group?

‘I’m very excited. One of the reasons I’m here is because I’m convinced the squad is very good and full of talent. The most important thing now is we’re able to create the right culture that drives us for the season.

‘I always say the same: if you are able to improve players then you are able to improve the team. So it’s our target to try to improve all of them day by day.’

You enjoyed great success last season with Leicester City playing with a particular approach, how important is that to you?

‘I think every manager has their own idea or style. 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.’

You also had to handle the pressure and expectation of winning at Leicester, how important is that experience coming into a club like Chelsea?

‘It’s the main point because when you join a club like Chelsea, you know that it’s a club that has to win. So for us, we are going to try our best to be there, to fight and compete with the clubs that in this moment are winning and fighting to win titles.’

Throughout your career as a player, you worked with several renowned coaches. Did that help to shape you as a coach?

‘Absolutely. As you say, [ played under (Carlo) Ancelotti, (Marcello) Lippi, (Manuel) Pellegrini, all of them are very important managers. We all try to take things and then we create our own box with all these things inside.

'It’s what I’ve tried to do since I started thinking about being a manager.’

Chelsea has a great history with Italian players and coaches, what are your feelings adding to that?

‘One of the reasons for sure [I joined]. I’m very proud to be an Italian manager here again. Probably there is something between Chelsea as a club, as a family, and Italian people that works well!’

Explain the importance of building a strong connection between the team and the Chelsea supporters?

‘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, it’s like playing with 12 players and this is what we have to create here.’

You sat in the away dugout at Stamford Bridge last season with Leicester, but what will it mean to you to walk out of that tunnel and be in the home dugout this season?

‘As I said, I’ll feel very proud. I consider Chelsea one of the biggest clubs in the world so I will feel very proud of it.’

The players return for pre-season training this week, how much are you looking forward to getting out onto the grass and working with your players?

‘It’s very important because we need to know each other. I already feel I know all of them to be honest because I’ve watched so many games in the last two or three weeks. So feel I know all of them.

‘But it’s always different when you spend day by day with the person. You can see them through games but when you spend day by day with the players, with the human beings, the people, you receive a different kind of feeling.

'So it’s very important to start on Monday and I’m very excited.’

What would be your final message to the supporters?

‘Just trust the process, trust the idea, be behind the team. For sure we are going to enjoy the journey. Like at every club, for every manager, it will not be easy because nothing is easy. But for sure we are going to enjoy our journey.’

The first interview: Enzo Maresca (2024)
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