Napoli need 'fundamental' Roma win: Benitez
Rafael Benitez believes defeat to title-challengers Roma could end Napoli's chances of securing second spot in Serie A and an automatic Champions League place.
Roma are currently second, 11 points behind Juventus and six ahead of Napoli, with a game in hand on both ahead of Sunday's away clash at the San Paolo.
Victory for Roma would leave Napoli nine points adrift in third place, which offers qualification for the Champions League only through a qualifying round.
Benitez narrowly failed to steer Napoli, who finished runners-up to Juve last season under former coach Walter Mazzarri, into the Champions League last 16 after a third-place finish in an otherwise impressive Group F campaign.
And the Spaniard wants to start next season without having to negotiate a preliminary round.
"It's a fundamental match for us," Benitez told reporters on Saturday. "We're targeting second spot and direct qualification for the Champions League. We can't hide from the fact that we need to win this game."
Roma coach Rudi Garcia will have to do without midfielder Daniele De Rossi after the Italy international was handed a three-match ban in midweek for punching Inter's Mauro Icardi in a 1-1 draw last week.
The Frenchman piled the pressure on Napoli when he said: "We're six points in front and we have a game in hand, so the pressure's all on Napoli.
"A draw would be a good result for us, but if you go out to play for a draw it only increases your chances of defeat.
"We have to maintain our usual philosophy of going out to win."
Benitez said in midweek Napoli's title chances were all but over, and Garcia added: "If they lose tomorrow it's all over for them, but for us it doesn't change a thing.
"We'll remain second with a game in hand and it won't slow us down."
Juventus arguably face an equally formidable task at home to fourth-placed Fiorentina early on Sunday, the first of three matches between the sides -- who meet home and away in the Europa League -- in less than a fortnight.