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Enzo Maresca begins life as Chelsea coach – from Marbella holiday apartment

Chelsea's new manager Enzo Maresca /Enzo Maresca begins life as Chelsea coach – from Marbella holiday apartment
Enzo Maresca replaces Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked at the end of the season - Action Images/Craig Brough

Enzo Maresca is already scouring Chelsea games from his apartment in Marbella after being confirmed as the club’s new head coach.

Maresca’s Stamford Bridge revolution is fully underway with the Italian signing a five-year contract with the option of a further 12 months.

After the exit of Mauricio Pochettino, Maresca emerged as the No. 1 choice for Chelsea’s ownership and sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, with £10million in compensation paid out to last season’s Championship winners Leicester City.

Telegraph Sport revealed last Monday that Chelsea had made an official approach for Maresca, who was chosen ahead of Thomas Frank, Kieran McKenna and Roberto De Zerbi after an exhaustive recruitment process.

While Leicester have said they are “disappointed” with Maresca’s departure, Chelsea are excited by the arrival of the “highly gifted coach and leader” who has worked with Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola. Chelsea regard the 44-year-old as the perfect head coach to fulfil their long-term vision with a “champions mentality”.

Maresca was away last week in Marbella but has already started watching matches from last season. He also requested access to the club’s data room to provide performance and analysis on every player from the junior levels to the first-team.

Though he has been impressed with the squad’s balance and the players available, new signings are expected over the summer. Tosin Adarabioyo, the former Fulham centre-back, is set for a medical this week before joining on a free transfer. Maresca will also target a new goalkeeper, a left-back and forward.

“To join Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in the world, is a dream for any coach,” he said. “It is why I am so excited by this opportunity.

“I look forward to working with a very talented group of players and staff to develop a team that continues the club’s tradition of success and makes our fans proud.”

Maresca replaces Pochettino, who departed by mutual consent last month despite a stirring second half of the season. Chelsea finished sixth in the Premier League to secure a place in the Europa Conference League next term.

Maresca will be tasked with taking the club into the top four, and ultimately returning them to regular Champions League football.

Chelsea’s ownership group said in a statement: “We are thrilled to welcome Enzo into the Chelsea family. We look forward to supporting him and the rest of the sporting team in fulfilling their potential and our expectations over the years to come.

“He is a highly gifted coach and leader that we are confident can help fulfil our vision and competitive goals for the club.”

FA rejects club’s appeal over James ban

Meanwhile, Maresca has his first headache of his Chelsea tenure after the club’s appeal over Reece James’ four-game ban was rejected by the FA.

Chelsea failed to overturn James’s ban from the start of next season after arguing he did not “kick out” at Brighton’s Joao Pedro last month but was “disorientated” and was “simply pushing him away with his foot”.

The Football Association published the written reasons and decision of a panel hearing the club’s claim for wrongful dismissal against their captain, which said: “It was submitted that the player was in possession of the ball near to the touchline by the benches and with his back to the pitch, shielding the ball as Joao Pedro approached him. Mr Pedro challenged him for the ball, kicking the outside of his left leg in the process. He was able to position his body between Mr Pedro and the ball and turn away from him to progress the ball up the touchline towards the halfway line.

“As he ran up the touchline, he could see Carlos Baleba approaching him from the halfway line, with Mr Pedro pursuing him from behind. Before he reached Mr Baleba, Mr Pedro lunged from behind him, with his left leg colliding with his left thigh and his left foot landing on his right foot, causing him to fall onto his chest and roll onto his back.

“As he fell in front of both Mr Baleba and Mr Pedro, he was disoriented. As he rolled onto his back, Mr Pedro’s left leg made contact with his feet as he ran past, and he spread his legs to push Mr Pedro away. As he spread his legs, his left leg pushed Mr Pedro leg away causing him to fall to the ground. It had not been his intention to harm Mr Pedro, he was simply pushing him away with his foot.”

But this version of events was dismissed by the commission.

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