Benitez enraged Everton after a goalless draw at Anfield in February by referring to them as a small club.
The American said: "When people come out and say that type of thing, it is a backhanded compliment. We know we did a really good job in that game.
"I wouldn't have chosen to come to a small club on loan where I might end up staying if it worked out. We broke the club record for Andy Johnson, and again for Yakubu this summer, which shows the ambition we have to take the next step."