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    A dream on the training pitch and an “idea”: how Enzo Maresca changed Leicester City

    Leicester lead the league under Italian coach Enzo Mareschi Photo: Getty Images/Plumb Images

    Enzo at his first training session Maresca, the new Leicester City manager, assembled his team and laid out his vision for the future.

    Detailing his philosophy and style of play, he remembers the clear message he conveyed to his players.< /p>

    “ Do what you have to do and don't worry if there are any mistakes. Mistakes are part of the process and we will make them in the future, but we believe in this journey and will continue with it.”

    Maresca's message has clearly had an effect as Leicester have been transformed under the Italian and lead the Championship , having won nine victories in 10 matches.

    A former Manchester City first team coach who was part of the game behind the scenes, he is the latest Pep Guardiola disciple to achieve success in the technical field, following in the footsteps of Mikel Arteta, Xavi and Vincent Kompany.

    He is obsessed with football and has persisted on having his team sleep at Leicester's training ground for the entire first week of pre-season to build a culture and get their message across.

    Maresca, part of Pep Guardiola's side in Manchester City's treble last season, joined Leicester this summer. Photo: Shutterstock/Adam Vaughan Marcesa's risky but rewarding approach is already having an impact at Leicester. Photo: Getty Images/Plumb Images

    The bitter disappointment of last season's relegation is slowly being forgotten and fans are enjoying a completely new experience. style of play.

    “Just like Leicester City, playing football like Enzo,” goes the motto, and Wednesday night's home win over Preston returned the club to the top of the table.

    Heavily influenced by Guardiola and his close friend Roberto De Zerbi in Brighton, Maresca's high-risk, high-reward approach could prove destructive.

    He calls it an “idea”, and Leicester had several of them. players who initially wondered if it would work in a division known for its chaos and impatience. After the September international break, everything seemed to be falling into place.

    Maresca, usually operating in a 4-3-3 formation, wants his team to build slowly and patiently from the back and then react with ruthlessness. and quickly in the final third when space is exploited.

    In the 4-1 demolition of Southampton last month, Wilfred Ndidi's third goal was Maresca's vision in high definition after 33 passes.

    “The bigger the ball you have, the more you enjoy it as a player. ” he says.

    ” We have to convince them and they give 100 percent of themselves to being open-minded and learning. We try to teach the players and the results obviously help a lot. They show resilience and sacrifice a lot to work with each other.”

    Winks recorded 100 percent success with 83 assists

    An uncompromising football purist, Maresca is completely dedicated to his style. In his opinion, his way is the only way. He often gets more satisfaction from his players sticking to a plan than from positive results.

    On his WhatsApp profile, he talks intriguingly about his methods with a quote from Johan Cruyff: “Teams don't learn.” . Individual team members learn. Development is a personal process, even if it is done in a team environment.”

    It is important to note that players are fully supportive of this idea, and there are already many individual success stories. Harry Winks, a £10 million summer signing from Tottenham, has excelled and is the heart of the team.

    He hates giving the ball away and was 100 per cent successful in the recent win over Norwich City. probability of success after 83 passes.

    Mads Hermansen, the Danish goalkeeper signed from Brøndby FC, is a game changer in many ways. He is essentially a playmaker at the back and can put the ball wherever he wants, which has led to comparisons to Ederson at Manchester City.

    Maresca played a pivotal role in the signings of Winks and Hermansen – shortly after his arrival, Leicester's head of recruitment Martin Glover presented him with a list of players for these positions, and Maresca decided that both were ideal for his style of play.

    < p>There were other key players too: Ndidi has stepped up this season, academy product Casey McAteer and Manchester City loanee Callum Doyle were excellent until recent injuries, and Jannik Vestergaard – frozen out by Brendan Rodgers to the extent that he trained alone last season – again on stage.

    You also can’t write off Jamie Vardy, who turned 37 in January. Leicester's best player has already scored four goals and is thriving under the new approach.

    “We can't teach Jamie anything inside the box, he's probably the best and knows everything,” says Maresca. “But now he likes it because he is involved with the team and touches the ball more.”

    Maresca prefers to train with 20 players who know they are involved with the matchday squad. It's a similar approach to Rodgers, who always insisted that up to 25 players can leave five or six feeling sidelined and unwanted.

    His strengths are tactical knowledge and an ability to simplify details. The message is always clear and every player knows what is expected of them. Long meetings are the norm, and daytime training sessions are held much more frequently than under any of Maresca's predecessors.

    Until recently, Maresca lived at the club's modern training ground in Seagrave before moving. to a new home with his wife Maria and four children.

    There is a good atmosphere at the club, and some of the groupings from last season, when groups of players sat separately in the training ground canteen, have been removed.

    The new management managed to create a pleasant atmosphere on and off the field. Photo: Getty Images/Plumb Images

    Leicester fans love this trip. Disappointed by last season's narrow relegation from the Premier League, fans needed renewed energy and Maresca delivered. It's no surprise, but most of those fans also enjoy the Ware-less league.

    Rival managers look with envy at a Leicester squad that is arguably one of the best the Championship has ever seen or had. some players earn over £70,000 a week.

    Despite the sale of James Maddison and Harvey Barnes following relegation, they still have a number of players who could play in the Premier League.

    Maresca is tired of the pressure being put on his team but will know that we are expected to return quickly to the top flight.

    Maresca's Thesis “Football and Chess”

    This moment has arrived for the 43-year-old since he received his Pro-License coaching badges. in the summer of 2019 with almost perfect results.

    Like De Zerbi, he studied at Italy's respected national training center in Coverciano. Along with him in the class were people such as Italian World Cup winner Mauro Camoranesi, former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Silvinho and Antonio Conte's assistant Christian Stellini.

    Mareschi's dissertation was entitled “Football and Chess” “, and he took these ideals into control: “There are many similarities between both games: the opponent will do things a certain way, and I have to react and adapt.”

    His education under Manuel Pellegrini (who managed him at Malaga and took him to West Ham as coach) and then Guardiola opened up his opportunities. After being appointed head coach of Manchester City's elite development team in August 2020, he won the Premier League 2 title that same season.

    His relationship with Guardiola grew closer on Sunday morning. When City's first-team players came for recovery sessions, they were joined by some of Maresca's youngsters and the pair formed a bond there.

    After a disappointing spell with Parma, he returned to the Etihad Stadium in 2021 . and played a key role in last season's Treble. The plan was always to return to management and when he met Leicester's management in June there was an immediate connection between them.

    Guardiola has given him his blessing to leave and will be watching with interest.

    Maresca's “idea” is working, and judging by recent results, Leicester's tour of the Championship may be very short.

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