Leicester boss Enzo Maresca keen to shed comparisons to Pep Guardiola

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca is keen to shed comparisons to Pep Guardiola and make his own name in coaching as he looks to launch the Foxes back into the Premier League

  • New Leicester boss Enzo Maresca wants to make his own name as a coach 
  • Maresca was part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff as Man City won the treble
  • The Italian will aim to get the Foxes back to the top flight at the first attempt 

In just a matter of minutes in the company of Enzo Maresca, it is clear that any comparisons to Pep Guardiola might start to irk the new Leicester boss. 

The Italian, who won the Treble as assistant manager at Manchester City, wants to make his own name in the world of coaching.

If Leicester’s 5,000-1 Premier League title win did not happen, we would be talking about their relegation just seven years later as one of English football’s biggest shocks in recent history. There is rarely a dull day at the King Power Stadium – but Maresca wants to instil normality.

In just over a month as their new boss, Maresca has seen an overhaul of his playing squad ahead of their first Championship season for a decade. James Maddison and Harvey Barnes departed for big fees, while senior pros Jonny Evans and Ryan Bertrand left for nothing.

The Foxes have made some smart signings, with former England internationals Conor Coady and Harry Winks joining alongside young Danish keeper Mads Hermansen and highly-rated Calum Doyle, who is on loan from Manchester City.

Enzo Maresca wants to make his own name in the coaching world after Leicester appointment 

Pep Guardiola told Maresca to ‘enjoy it’ upon taking up his new post with at the King Power 

Which brings us on to Guardiola and the City style of play. ‘The only thing Pep Guardiola said to me (when leaving) was to enjoy it,’ says Maresca, 43, in Singapore for a pre-season tour and talking just eight days before the Foxes’ first league assignment against Coventry.

Maresca (left) was part of Manchester City’s treble winning staff under Pep Guardiola 

 ‘I had good opportunities to join some clubs during last season but I wanted to wait until the end of the season. At the end of that, I had some contact with Leicester and then I had not one doubt about joining the club.

‘It was difficult personally to leave Manchester City because I feel a part of them, they are like family. But I had no doubts about joining Leicester, this club is very good.’

Asked on what his biggest learning from Guardiola was, Maresca wipes his forehead and gives a one-word response – ‘passion’ – which makes it clear he might soon tire of every narrative being around his similarities to the Catalan, which some might say translate to appearance, too.

Though the season ended in glory for Maresca and Co, the Italian could not fully enjoy beating Inter Milan at first. His father Pasquale, who had travelled to Istanbul, was reported missing shortly after the Champions League final.

Italian media reported a ‘major scare’ as Maresca’s father was unable to be located for a number of hours in Turkey, with an announcement made over the Ataturk Stadium PA system and also the Manchester City Twitter account asking for help in finding him.

Luckily he was found shortly later and Maresca could celebrate and he was pictured partying with Jack Grealish on the plane back to Manchester. The next away trip for the Italian, though, is quite the comedown from those parties… a trip to Burton in the EFL Cup.

‘There is no limit to my team,’ he adds. ‘We started together just one month ago. The most important thing is the idea, to show we know what we are doing.

‘If the team is playing well, there is always room to improve. We only started one month ago so there is a lot of work to do. We try to keep the ball every time.

‘The target is to improve everyday, see the players improve and see the idea. The Championship is very hard, there are 23 more clubs that want the same target as us. It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to try.’

Harry Winks is one of the new big name arrivals at Leicester as they look to bounce back 

Jamie Vardy remains at the club and will spearhead the Foxes bid to return to the Premier League next season 

Leicester will be spearheaded by 36-year-old Jamie Vardy who alongside Marc Albrighton is one of just two men standing from that famous title-winning season. Big-money signings such as Patson Daka, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ricardo Pereira will cut their teeth in the second tier, too.

Experienced full-back Pereira has been tucking into central areas, which might be one tactical note Maresca has learned from Guardiola. On his new boss, Pereira says: ‘He’s been good, he’s a change for us.

‘We had a way of playing but he came in with ideas and gave in with fresh thoughts and information. For myself, I am really enjoying the way he is playing. This is a learning process and it will take some time but things are going well.’

The Foxes’ pre-season plans were hit by torrential rain in Thailand last week when a match with Spurs was called off due to the Bangkok weather. It means their clash with Liverpool in Singapore on Sunday will be just their second pre-season outing, after beating Northampton.

‘It’s a huge test,’ adds Maresca. ‘We face, for me, the best team in the world in terms of transition and pressing. It will be nice and a good test for us and then finally we can then start the season.

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