Rafa: Roman relationship fine

Brighton boss Gus Poyet admits he is happy to be linked to the
job of Chelsea manager.

The 45-year-old Uruguayan, who played for Chelsea from June 1997
to June 2001 and made more than 100 appearances for the club, is
around a 7/1 chance to succeed Rafael Benitez when the interim boss
departs Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

Poyet, who has guided Brighton into the play-off places in the
Championship this term, said: “I want to go to the highest level
and if it’s the Premier League and it’s Chelsea, fantastic.

“That’s my aim. Everybody knows. I don’t hide it.

“I like the speculation because it means we are doing something
right. But it doesn’t change my life at the moment.”

Benitez has hogged Thursday’s headlines following his rant
criticising Blues supporters and the club’s decision to give him
the title of interim manager.

The Blues boss launched an impassioned monologue following the
holders’ 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough, which set up a
quarter-final tie with Manchester United, and the criticism sparked
suggestions his tenure in caretaker charge could come to an end as
soon as Thursday.

The comments are unlikely to have gone down well with Abramovich
and the Blues board, but Chelsea insisted it was “business as
usual” at their Surrey training base, where Benitez took
training.

The Spaniard, who has confirmed he will leave Chelsea at the end
of season, is expected to be given at least one more match in
charge when West Brom visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday and will
hold the pre-match media conference as scheduled on Friday
afternoon.

“My relationship with the owner is really good,” Benitez told
BBC’s Football Focus. “Every time I talk to Abramovich about
football, I enjoy (it).

“I know that he wants to win. I’m here because he wants to win
and I will try to do my best until the last day.

“The relationship is fine. I don’t have any problem with
anyone.

“I have conversations with Michael Emenalo, the technical
director, every single day. He watches the training sessions, we
talk about football and when I meet Roman Abramovich, we talk about
football.

“We talk like normal people. We share a passion for
football.”

Reports of dressing room unrest, including a dispute with
captain John Terry, have been played down and Benitez is adamant
there are no major concerns.

“My relationship with the staff, the people at Cobham, is really
good, fantastic,” Benitez added. “The players are fully behind our
ideas, 100%.”