Chelsea could benefit as Enzo Maresca reveals what he learned from Leicester City 'marathon'

Enzo Maresca on the touchline during Leicester City's 2-1 win at West Brom
-Credit: (Image: Paul Greenwood/REX/Shutterstock)

Enzo Maresca learned a lot from the Championship’s “46-game marathon” but it remains to be seen if the beneficiaries of the manager’s developments will be Leicester City or Chelsea.

The City boss remains on the shortlist for the vacant position at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea’s hunt for a successor to Mauricio Pochettino goes into a second week. Brentford’s Thomas Frank and former Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi are also in contention, albeit Ipswich's Kieran McKenna appears to have dropped out of the running.

Maresca has, by some distance, the least managerial experience of the remaining trio, having only had one full season in charge of a senior side. But his maiden campaign at the King Power Stadium, in which he achieved the club’s objective of an immediate return to the Premier League, taught him plenty.

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He already knew English football, having spent time as a first-team coach with West Ham and as assistant manager at Manchester City, but leading a club in the Championship was totally different for Maresca. With two games a week most weeks, there was “no time to breathe”, meaning he had to act on instinct and learn on the fly. City will hope they are the ones to benefit from that earned knowledge.

"At (Manchester) City I lived as a sponge for two years, trying to absorb as much as possible in an environment of incredible quality," Maresca told Gazzetta dello Sport. "At Leicester, the sponge began to release what it had absorbed, and it was top-quality material.

"(You have to have) the ability to adapt and react to difficulties and unexpected events quickly, on and off the pitch. A 46-game marathon eliminates reaction times. You have to be quick and effective in the choices you make. I learned a lot.

"You don't have time to breathe. We played 53 games, 46 in the Championship and the rest in the two cups. The Championship never ends, and you can't play 46 games at the same level. The decline comes sooner or later and it happened to us between February and March. But we always played in full stadiums. This country is truly a paradise for football."

To get Maresca out of the King Power Stadium, Chelsea will have to pay a release clause of upwards of £8m. The Italian has two years remaining on his contract with the club.

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