Benatia is shocked by Milan's dismal season so far.
"It is strange to see the Rossoneri 19 points behind us in the Serie A table," Benatia told Il Tempo newspaper.
"They have been struggling for a while, but now they have gone through to the Champions League knockouts and we must respect them, because it is still Milan.
"It is going to be a battle and we need to play like Roma, with hunger and tempo. That will make it difficult for them."
On Balotelli added: "It's a shame he often gets provoked and people say he's a bad guy. He can relax with me: I won't need to say any nasty words to mark him."
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