Villarreal returned to winning ways on Saturday against Celta Vigo after an improved second-half performance.
The Yellow Submarine suffered their first defeat in seven games last weekend when they came up short against Osasuna.
And amid an intense race for the top four, Unai Emery’s men couldn’t afford another slip-up here, especially not at home.
The first half offered little in the way of chances, with both teams struggling to create in the final third.
Villarreal have had trouble of late with Arnaut Danjuma playing centrally, and that proved the case again here.
Celta had the first clear chance, with Brais Mendez slotting wide with a clear view on goal.
Though, Villarreal dominated the second half action and looked much more dangerous.
Danjuma skied a chance from close range shortly after Mendez’s miss, and the Yellows continued to cause danger, with Samu Chukwueze looking particularly sharp.
Manu Trigueros also stood out in midfield, and he would leave his mark on the clash with a brilliant assist for Villarreal to take the lead.
In the 64th minute, after a fine Danjuma run, Trigueros produced a brilliant backheel in the box to work the ball to Dani Parejo, who took aim.
In truth, Celta keeper Matias Dituro should have done a lot better, but Parejo’s low shot bounced off his hands and into the bottom corner.
Celta pressed late on and Villarreal did have to hold on, at times, with Geronimo Rulli denying Iago Aspas before Aissa Mandi had to clear of the line following a Santi Mina effort.
But they saw out the win, and Emery’s men were particularly good on the ball here, controlling possession and looking after the ball very well in key areas.
The win means the Yellows go into Wednesday’s crucial Champions League Round of 16 second leg with wind back on their sails, and the pressure is back on Real Sociedad and those above as the race for a top four finish continues.