Lazaros Christodoulopoulos earned Bologna a 2-1 victory from the bench on Tuesday night, after Marco Motta had cancelled out Adem Ljajic's opener, to fire his side eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Despite their off-field troubles, Cagliari are in fine form and lead Bologna by two points and two places having won three of their last four games, scoring 11 goals.
Pioli told La Repubblica: "Cagliari are one of the sides in the bottom half of the table that have great quality, with good players and well-organised football.
"This was an important win - a great performance against an even better side. But I repeat and I must insist, the finish line is still a long way away."
Cesare Natali remains absent through injury while fellow defender Mikael Antonsson serves a one-match ban as Bologna look to avenge October's 1-0 defeat at the Is Arenas.
Midfielder Archimede Morleo is eager to carry the adrenaline rush generated by beating Fiorentina into the mid-table face-off.
"Winning was important because they were a high-level opponent and we clawed back a good position in the league table," he told the Corriere dello Sport.
"Now we have even more motivation for the Cagliari game on Sunday and we will use the same determination, organisation and spirit of sacrifice against them."
Cagliari boss Ivo Pulga dedicated a sensational behind-closed-doors victory to the Sardinian club's president Massimo Cellino, who was recently arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into the construction of the Stadio Is Arenas.
Captain Daniele Conti had the last word in a frenetic 4-3 win for Pulga's men, but no fans were there to see it as the controversy surrounding the construction of the stadium rumbles on.
Pulga said: "The players and I dedicate this win to president Cellino. We know that he was really looking forward to the Torino game and I hope we can all watch it again together soon.
"The warmth of our fans spurred us on to a great performance and the team are now doing fantastic things.
"We are definitely on the right path towards reaching our target of 42 points to achieve survival."
Pulga has no injury or suspension concerns for the trip to the Renato Dall'Ara, where Cagliari have failed to win since January 2010.