Former Chelsea player names one huge thing Maresca can improve from Pochettino

Jon Obi Mikel’s podcast has been firing out the interesting content recently, with the ex-Chelsea midfielder able to bridge the gap between being a fan of the team and being an ex-player, giving him a great perspective on things.

It was interesting to hear his thoughts on Enzo Maresca, who managed Leicester last season and is now taking a major step up to the top end of the Premier League. Mikel seems enthused at least by the idea of the new man:

“”I have watched Leicester play. I’m not gonna lie. I think I like the way they played… You must be somebody like that to be able to work with Pep for a long time,” Mikel commented on his podcast.

So for me looking at it and watching Leicester play. He seems to me as a manager who knows exactly what he is doing. Sometimes when I watched Chelsea last season, it felt to me like some of the players didn’t know exactly what were doing on the pitch.”

A different approach to Pochettino

While of course the good run of games to end the season is what sticks in everyone’s mind, and there’s quite rightly been a lot of discontent about Pochettino’s sacking, we can’t forget that Mikel is bang on with what he says. There really were very long periods of the season where Chelsea’s players looked like they hadn’t developed many patterns of play in attack or any cohesion in defence.

That was despite Pochettino having a full preseason and no European football to distract him from the training ground. It was a major gripe with lots of fans that our team didn’t look any more structure in January than it had in July. Maresca may succeed or not, but he will at least get the team playing in a very identifiable way – whether that way is exciting to watch is another question.

Tags John Obi Mikel

1 Comment

  1. For folks who were paying close attention, we didn’t start regularly winning games until Poch inverted Cucurella near the end of the season. It made Chelsea more of 3-2-2-3 in attack which is exactly how Maresca operated at Leicester! The issue is…. Why did Poch wait until the end of year to do this??? We spent 3/4 of the campaign knocking the ball around our own third—indeed, we led the league in touches in front of our own goal—but it rarely translated into results in the final third. The data shows we were really poor at goals from build ups. And this has to be laid at the feet of the manager because he had many months to get his ideas across to the players and to develop clear progressions of play. Instead, we saw nearly 2/3 of the season slip by before we started to notice an identity starting to emerge and a sense that our boys could impose their will on the opposition.

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