Championship winners Leicester – how Enzo Maresca guided Foxes to promotion

Championship winners Leicester – how Enzo Maresca guided Foxes to promotion

10 May 2024 0 By Total Football News

On 3 June, Maresca, as assistant to Pep Guardiola, helped Manchester City win the FA Cup against Manchester United.

The following day, he was speaking to Leicester’s owner about becoming head coach. He almost never made the meeting.

The 44-year-old agonised long and hard before attending the appointment, not because he didn’t want the job, but because he would miss the 10th birthday party of his son, Paolo.

If he was to choose a business appointment ahead of the celebration of the eldest of his four children, then he told himself it had better be worth it and he left a note on a board behind his desk in the training ground office saying as much.

It became a regular thought during the season. ‘It has to be worth it. It will be worth it.’

Chairman Srivaddhanaprabha said he wanted the team to play like Manchester City.

“Not possible,” Maresca told him. “Nobody has that level.”

He promised though the team would dominate games, would be offensive and brave. It was a way of playing that he fell in love with ever since losing to Guardiola’s Barcelona as a player for Sevilla.

Maresca left City with the blessing of everyone. Guardiola had told him from the start he knew he was a number one. He was too capable and ambitious, to settle for being an assistant.

The advice he got from some of the City bosses was not to go to the Championship, it was too risky and demanding.

But Maresca, who had offers from Premier League clubs, wanted one with history and with the potential to re-establish themselves in the top tier. Leicester ticked all the boxes, despite the fact that anything less than returning to the Premier League would be deemed as a failure.

On 16 June 2023, Maresca was appointed manager of Leicester, having signed a three-year contract with the newly-relegated club. He spent his first two months living at the club’s training base.

This article was originally posted on https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/articles/c4n1v47jl42o