Avoiding Pochettino's Pitfalls: 3 Lessons for Maresca at Chelsea

Leicester City v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship
Leicester City v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship / Copa/GettyImages
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3. Maximizing Squad Potential: Effective Utilization

One of the criticisms Pochettino faced was his questionable use of the squad. For example, Raheem Sterling was one of the worst performers for Chelsea towards the end of 2023, yet he continued to start almost every match. Conversely, Mykhailo Mudryk was rewarded for his goal-scoring performance with an extended stay on the bench. Robert Sanchez was Chelsea's first-choice goalkeeper at the start of the season. Despite the Spaniard's mistakes, Djorje Petrovic was not given a chance, even in cup games. Both players were only replaced in the starting lineup after they got injured, by which time many points had been dropped due to their errors. Similarly, Ian Maatsen was not utilized in place of Ben Chilwell when Chilwell was playing poorly and Marc Cucurella was injured.

Another questionable decision was recalling Cesare Casadei from his loan at Leicester under Enzo Maresca. Although the Italian U21 player was not getting many starts initially, he began to show his worth and was getting a decent amount of minutes on the pitch before being called back. Once recalled, Casadei was given no more than 15 minutes in a match, often only deep into injury time. Incidentally, Leicester also experienced a dip in form after he left them.

Another significant issue under Pochettino was the high incidence of player injuries during training. Many players required more time than initially estimated to regain fitness due to further setbacks in training. These are all details that Maresca should be cautious about during his tenure.

While Mauricio Pochettino's tenure had its positives, such as allowing a squad of new players to evolve into a cohesive team with a positive atmosphere, his significant mistakes couldn't be overlooked. However, Enzo Maresca's successful stint at Leicester City in the Championship demonstrated his ability to handle the challenges faced by a top team over a long season.

With Chelsea set to compete in the UEFA Conference League for the first time, the minimum expectation for Maresca would be to lead the team to victory in the tournament, secure a top-four finish in the Premier League, and embark on a successful domestic cup run. The board firmly believes that Maresca is the right person for the job, and there's currently no reason to doubt his capability. Now, it's up to him to surpass those expectations and prove himself even further.