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%.”