Still smarting from their 1-0 home defeat to Fiorentina, Napoli duly punished bottom side Catania with four unopposed first-half goals at the Stadio Angelo Massimino on Wednesday night.
Duvan Zapata scored twice with Jose Callejon and Henrique also notching before the Sicilians bit back late with goals from Fabian Monzon and Norbert Gyomber to make the final result 4-2.
Benitez admits he was disappointed with the way his team appeared to fall asleep after building a four-goal lead but praised them for reacting so well to the Fiorentina setback.
The Spaniard told sscnapoli.it: "It was an important win, and our aim is now taking second place in the championship.
"Our aim is to beat Roma but it will depend on them too. We will try to give our all and we can close out the season brilliantly. We need to be confident because we will need to earn 24 more points.
"The team was terrific in attack but less brilliant in the defensive phase.
"After going four goals ahead it was difficult to be focused, Catania put their hearts into the comeback and for us it was far more tricky to maintain our attention levels.
"It's always a shame to concede goals, however we are all happy because we were still tired from our previous match but reacted well."
Colombian striker Zapata started instead of the rested Gonzalo Higuain and impressed with both a close-range finish and a right-footed daisy-cutter.
The best goal of the match belonged to Henrique, who bamboozled Catania goalkeeper Mariano Andujar with an extraordinary strike.
Callejon, meanwhile, passed into an empty net following a covering mistake from Andujar.
"I'm delighted for Duvan who performed well and above all I wanted to give a bit of rest to some men who have been playing a lot of matches," Benitez added.
"Henrique played as a defensive midfielder, he is a careful player who is learning fast and he also has the strong personality that allows him to be creative and versatile.
"Of course we made great choices."