A draw against mid-table Genoa at the weekend effectively ended Napoli's hopes of winning the Serie A title this season.
They now trail runaway leaders Juventus by 15 points and hopes of replicating last season's second-placed finish are getting tougher. Roma have a six-point advantage and a game in hand.
An early exit from the Champions League, albeit an unlucky one, leaves manager Rafa Benitez under pressure to make up the difference elsewhere, and although he has guided Napoli to the Coppa Italia final, he will also have one eye on winning the Europa League.
Having won the competition last season with Chelsea, Benitez is well equipped to navigate the Europa League, which can sometimes seem as much about endurance as it can skill.
|Fixture||Date||Time||Live Stream Info||TV Info|
|Napoli vs. Swansea||Thursday, Feb. 27||6 p.m. GMT (1 p.m. ET)||ITV.com||ITV4|
A goalless draw in the first leg can be translated two ways. Benitez will be relatively happy to have returned to Italy with every opportunity to progress at home.
Especially given Napoli's away form in Europe:
1 - Napoli have won once away from home in the Last 32 stage of this competition (FC Porto, 1974), drawing five & losing four since. Barren.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 20, 2014
But, Swansea will be buoyed by their ability to hold one of Italy's elite sides, one that already beat Arsenal and Dortmund in European competition.
Swansea are a dangerous beast in cup competitions. They have already knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup this season and beat Chelsea over two legs en route to winning the Capital One Cup last campaign.
However, travelling to Naples, where Napoli won all three of their Champions League games this season is a different prospect.
That news is offset by Benitez being able to call upon big names such as Pepe Reina, Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik.
As reported by ITV, Benitez is not taking his opponents lightly:
This is a crucial game for us. We are confident because we can do good things this season.
We already saw that Swansea play great football. We have to play as we know how, but we must increase the tempo.
Napoli should easily have enough experience and talent to progress, but from there the competition will only get tougher.
Italian rivals Fiorentina and Juventus remain in wake, while Tottenham, Ajax, Benfica and Valencia also remain in the tournament.
Being knocked out of the Europa League by Napoli, a potential winner, is no shame for Swansea and will give Garry Monk a chance to consolidate the side's Premier League status before assessing how and if he plans to reshape his squad during the summer.