France winger Christophe Dominici believes it is essential to pick up a win over Italy on Saturday to add weight to the belief Les Bleus are on their way back to top form.
France scraped wins over Scotland and England in their opening two games of the RBS 6 Nations, before losing 24-18 at home to Wales.
However, they bounced back to end Ireland's Grand Slam hopes with a 26-19 victory at Lansdowne Road on Saturday, giving Bernard Laporte's men an outside chance of successfully defending their RBS 6 Nations crown.
"Losing would have been extremely disappointing, especially after all the chances we had," said Dominici.
"We dominated the match and showed a strong commitment, it was impossible for us to lose even though we should have finished with a larger score.
"On Saturday against Italy people will expect a lot from us on the offensive side but the pressure and our rivals will be different.
"We will have to be careful. Even if we do respect the Italians it would be really bad to lose against them."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.