( dpa )- Troubled Spanish giant Valencia suffered another major blow on Saturday, thrashed 3-0 on the road by lively Villarreal, who move up to third.
Valencia have not won in La Liga for nine matches, and the pressure is piling up on unpopular new coach Ronald Koeman .
His troubled team is seventh in La Liga , and showing no signs of improvement despite the signing of young midfielders Ever Banega and Hedwiges Maduro .
Against their ambitious local rivals, Valencia were feeble in attack, ponderous in midfield and porous in defence .
Veteran winger Robert Pires opened the scoring with a cracking drive after just six minutes, and the writing was on the wall for brittle Valencia.
The closest the visitors came to scoring was when Villarreal keeper Diego Lopez had to stretch to keep out long shot from Ruben Baraja .
Nihat Kahveci should have made it 2-0 for Villarreal just before the interval, but hit the post with an empty net at his mercy.
Defender Joan Cadevila scored the second for Villarreal in the 63rd minute, by pushing in a corner that had been headed on by Diego Godin .
Seven minutes later, with Valencia falling apart at the seams, Giuseppe Rossi set up Nihat to make it 3-0 with an impudent chip.
Villarreal have always been in the shadow of mighty neighbours Valencia, but the local balance of power is changing because this is the second time this season that Valencia have been thrashed 3-0 by their modest rivals.
"Today was a very complete day for us," a delighted Nihat told television channel La Sexta . "Everything went right for us."
Villarreal are now third in La Liga , with 38 points from 20 games. They are one point ahead of fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, who take on leaders Real Madrid in Sunday's capital derby.
In fifth place are Espanyol on 36 points. Then come surprise package Racing Santander on 32 and hapless Valencia on 27.
Earlier on Sunday eighth-placed Sevilla were beaten 3-2 by dogged Getafe in a pulsating match.