Real Madrid moved back into the top four of La Liga by thumping Deportivo La Coruna 7-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, with Cristiano Ronaldo ending a miserable run of league form with a late double.
Ronaldo had only scored four league goals before Sunday's clash with third-from-bottom Deportivo, but the Portuguese added Real's fifth and sixth with a smart volley and a diving header as they moved back above Villarreal and into the Champions League places.
Villarreal had temporarily taken fourth with a 2-1 win over Levante on Saturday after beating Real at the Bernabeu for the first time ever last week.
Gareth Bale and Nacho also bagged braces each side of half-time and Luka Modric curled home a 68th-minute beauty as Real came back from a shock early deficit, a 23rd-minute tap-in from Adrian, to romp to an emphatic victory and ease the pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane.
The win leaves Real five points behind Valencia in third, after Marcelino Garcia Toral's side had two players sent off in a shock 2-1 loss at Las Palmas on Saturday.
Real are 16 points behind league leaders and arch-rivals Barcelona, who can go 11 clear with a win at Real Betis later, and eight away from second-placed Atletico Madrid, who could only draw 1-1 with Girona on Saturday.
Real had come into Sunday's match in crisis following some dismal performances that culminated in last week's defeat to Villarreal, and the mess seemed to have grown deeper when Adrian tapped home Lucas Perez's low cross.
However the home side reacted immediately and by half-time were 2-1 up thanks to Nacho's neat first-time strike and a superb curling effort from Bale, both of which came from crosses by Marcelo.
Then, in the second half, the floodgates opened.