Chelsea legend issues worrying 'catastrophe' warning after Enzo Maresca appointment

One Chelsea legend is cautious over Enzo Maresca’s appointment (Image: Copa/Getty Images)

Chelsea icon John Obi Mikel has sounded the alarm bells for his former club and warned of impending disaster if they don’t hit the ground running next season.

With the Blues pinning their hopes on ex-Leicester City gaffer Enzo Maresca to propel them back into the Premier League’s top four, the stakes are high following a sixth-place finish last term. Chelsea – who bagged 63 points and a runner-up finish in the Carabao Cup – are looking to bounce back under new leadership.

After Mauricio Pochettino parted ways with Chelsea by mutual consent at the close of the previous campaign, Italian tactician Maresca, a former understudy to Pep Guardiola, is set to take charge for the 2024/25 season.

Sections of the Stamford Bridge faithful are buzzing with anticipation over the playing style Maresca will bring, having honed his skills as a coach with Manchester City’s academy. However, Mikel has issued a stark caution to the incoming manager about the potential fallout should Chelsea falter at the season’s start.

On his Obi One podcast (via football.london), Mikel expressed his views: “Fourth position next season is a step forward but we want to be winning trophies. So I’m sure the Chelsea fans, they’ve been patient, but if we don’t start the season well next season, that is going to be a catastrophe.

“It will be a bad, bad decision from the owners and they will have to…I don’t know what they have to do because the fans will turn on them, and they will turn on them massively.”

READ MORE
Levi Colwill’s stance on leaving Chelsea for Bayern Munich after Tosin signing [INSIGHT]
Man Utd’s Greenwood swap, Arsenal eye trio, Liverpool hijack Chelsea [LATEST]
Chelsea ‘reach transfer agreement’ as Man Utd and INEOS sink to new low [TRANSFERS]

Chelsea endured a tough season last time out (Image: Getty)

Co-host Chris McHardy labelled Maresca’s appointment as the “worst-kept secret” in football before it was confirmed and probed Mikel for his thoughts on the new manager. The ex-Nigeria international replied: “It’s massive [going from] Leicester to Chelsea, also from the Championship. So for me, I mean no disrespect to Leicester, they’re a great side, they’ve won the league, but that’s Leicester and this is Chelsea.

“I’ve watched Leicester play, I’m not going to lie, I like the way they played. They kicked off the season really well and everyone thought they were going to run away with it, but then they became a bit shaky towards the end, lost a lot of games, drew a lot of games.”

“Obviously we’ve discussed him [Enzo] as a disciple of Pep Guardiola. Clearly if you work with Pep then you must adore the game, you must understand the game, you must interpret the game, breathe the game, eat the game, sleep the game, because that’s how Pep operates. You must be someone who likes to be able to work for Pep for such a long time. So for me, observing it and watching Leicester play, it appears to me that he’s a manager who knows precisely what he’s doing.”

The 37-year-old acknowledged the need for change, as well as the possibility that Maresca will be the one to enforce it: “Sometimes when I watched Chelsea last season, it seemed to me like some of the players didn’t know exactly what they were doing on the pitch, but I think with Enzo, I believe it’s going to be different.

“You have to know exactly what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and what your role is on the pitch. Tactically, he looks like he is very tactically sound if he’s going to bring the tiki-taka way of how Pep plays, then we’ll be laughing.”

Maresca will officially take charge of the London side from July 1 on a five-year contract, with an option to extend for a further year.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1909811/chelsea-enzo-maresca-John-Obi-Mikel