Zola or Poyet 'Ready' to Replace Benitez

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By Nick Howson | February 28, 2013 5:47 AM EST

Chelsea legends Gianfranco Zola and Gus Poyet should be among the candidates to replace Rafa Benitez at the end of the season, according to former defender Frank Sinclair.

Benitez, appointed on an interim basis after Roberto di Matteo was sacked in November, is expected to be relinquished of his duties in the summer having won just 13 of his 26 games in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and Everton's David Moyes are among the rumoured candidates to replace Benitez in the summer, but Sinclair believes both Zola and Poyet, both of whom he played alongside during his eight-year career at Chelsea, should both be considered.

"You look at most of the candidates most of them are in work at the moment," Sinclair said. "I think a lot of Chelsea supporters would like to see Mourinho come back, that would give the club a big lift and his record in the Premier League in unbelievable so I think he would be first on the list.

"Everyone knows what he's [David Moyes] done at Everton is superb but, to be honest, I don't know if Chelsea is the right job for him because used to keeping a club like Everton afloat on not a lot of money," he added.

"They haven't won anything in a long time and Chelsea is about winning things and if you don't win things as far as the supporters are concerned it's a poor season.

"Personally I'd like to see someone like Gianfranco Zola or Gus Poyet come back to the club I think they've done their apprenticeship at smaller clubs and they would be ready to take on a bigger job."

Zola has taken Watford into the automatic promotion places in The Championship with a mix of loan players and academy graduates while Poyet wo nthe League One title with Brighton and Hove Albion in the 2010/11 campaign before guiding the club this season into play-off contention.

The success, squad togetherness and unity with the fans that Di Matteo achieved with Chelsea is a far cry from the current predicament in west London under Benitez, who has fought against supporter unrest for much of his tenure.

Recent reports have suggested Benitez has fallen out with members of the first team squad after the Premier League defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, and Sinclair claims cracks in The Blues camp are clear for all to see.

"You can sense a little bit of unrest in the camp, there's no smoke without fire," Sinclair added. "Obviously Rafa was interviewed yesterday and touched on that fact he'd had words with the players.

"There's a bit of discontent there that you can see from the outside I think. The dressing room doesn't look 100% happy and I think it should in the performance."

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