Brighton manager Gus Poyet reaffirmed his desire to manage at the highest level after being linked with a return to former club Chelsea yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of his side’s clash with Huddersfield, Poyet responded to claims that he was one of the front runners to replace Benitez at Stamford Bridge.
Brighton currently lie sixth in the Championship and go into Saturday’s game on the back of three straight league victories and have conceded just once in the last four games.
When informed that he was 7/1 on to succeed Benitez, Poyet said “That’s my aim. I want to go to the highest level whether it’s Chelsea or someone else.”
The Chelsea manager claimed he was ready to leave the European Champions on Wednesday night and this has fuelled speculation surrounding who will replace him in the summer.
Benitez reacted angrily when the Chelsea supporters targeted him with a series of chants and display of banners at his side’s 2-0 victory away at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth round.
“Chelsea gave me the title of interim manager which is a mistake.” Benitez told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I am the manager. The fans are not helping us. At the end of the season I will leave. They don’t have to worry about me”.
Gus Poyet made 105 appearances for The Blues in a four year stint, winning the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, earning him legendary status at the Bridge.
However despite the rumours, the Uruguayan insisted he didn’t watch Chelsea in midweek and was focussed solely on preparations for Saturday as Brighton look to cement a play-off spot.
“I can assure you I didn’t watch Chelsea against Middlesbrough. I was paying attention to preparing for our game against Huddersfield on Saturday by watching them in a competitive game at Burnley. That’s my job.”