MADRID • Valencia eased the pressure on manager Nuno Espirito Santo with by far their best result of the season to thrash Celta Vigo 5-1 at Balaidos Stadium on Saturday.
Paco Alcacer and Dani Parejo both struck twice, before Shkodran Mustafi added a late header to lift Valencia to within two points of the top four in the Spanish La Liga.
Victory took Valencia up to seventh place on 18 points.
They travelled to Galicia with rumours surrounding Nuno's future, after a dreadful performance in losing 0-1 to Gent in the Champions League on Wednesday. Some of the club's fans have also turned on the manager following his decision to leave striker Alvaro Negredo out of the squad yet again.
True to form, third-placed Celta dominated the majority of the match, but they suffered just their second defeat of the season thanks to some brilliant Valencia finishing and comical defending from the hosts.
"It was an important game before the international break and now we have two weeks to work," Nuno told a news conference.
"The players have shown that they are motivated and before they weren't so bad and now neither are they the best. We are modest and we need to keep improving."
Alcacer had once again been named in Vicente del Bosque's Spain squad on Friday despite scoring just once from open play all season. However, he justified the former Real Madrid manager's faith by sweeping home Parejo's pass for the opener on 12 minutes.
Celta were levelled 11 minutes later when Augusto Fernandez headed home from close range.
The home side were then outraged when they had the ball in the net again moments later, but referee Inaki Vicandi Garrido had already blown for a Celta free kick on the edge of the area.
Parejo turned the game on its head just before half-time with a stunning free kick that found the top corner.
Seconds into the second half, it was 3-1, as Alcacer pounced on a short back-pass from full-back Jonny to coolly slot home his second of the afternoon. He then turned provider for Parejo to score the fourth, before Mustafi added a fifth from a corner 13 minutes from time.