The promoted outfit have had a difficult start to life in Italy's top flight but beat Bologna 2-1 last Sunday to pick up their first win of the season.
The outcome lifted Sassuolo off the foot of the standings and into 18th place.
"After five defeats in eight games, we really needed a win to get our confidence back," Di Francesco said. "We played well against Bologna and deserved the win.
"We need to keep working hard because we are on the right path.
"We have a lot of work to do to avoid the drop this season.
"In Catania, I want my players to show the same character they displayed against Bologna.
"We need victories to climb up in the standings."
Catania have also endured a less than auspicious start to the campaign.
Their 2-1 defeat at Cagliari last time out was their fifth loss in eight games and prompted this week's dismissal of coach Rolando Maran, with Luigi De Canio tasked with turning around the fortunes of the Sicilian outfit.
De Canio is happy to return to coaching having been out of a job since being dismissed by Genoa in October 2012.
"I am convinced that Catania is a club where a coach can work well," he said. "I know that there is a possibility here to get important professional gratification.
"We are only eight games into the season and I believe this team has the potential to do well."
Catania are 17th in the standings, level on five points with Sassuolo.
A lack of goals has been Catania's main problem, with the islanders having found the back of the net just six times.
The home side will be without defenders Nicola Legrottaglie and Pablo Alvarez, both suspended.
To complicate matters for De Canio, Argentinian defender Luciano Monzon will sit out the game with an ankle injury.