La Liga: Valencia win as Granada fall under Shkodran Mustafi's spell
A bullet header from Shkodran Mustafi gave Valencia a 1-0 victory over Granada on Friday that eased the pressure on underfire coach Nuno Espirito Santo.
Mustafi powered an inviting cross from Zakaria Bakkali into the roof of the net after 26 minutes during one moment of quality in another mainly scrappy performance from Valencia.
It was the second La Liga victory of the season for the home team and they have scored only three goals in six games.
Youssef El-Arabi hit the post soon after the goal and the striker was Granada`s main threat with his strength and movement.
"We need to work like we were doing last season. It is maybe harder now because teams come here ready to give everything," Mustafi told reporters.
Champions League qualifiers Valencia are sixth in La Liga with nine points while Granada are third from bottom on three points.
Real Madrid occupy top spot on goal difference from Celta Vigo and Villarreal with 13 points and meet Malaga on Saturday when Barcelona, a point behind, also face Las Palmas.
Valencia have had problems on and off the field this season.
Owner Peter Lim has been criticised since his arrival last year, in particular for expensive signings who have largely failed to deliver.
Nuno has frequently chopped and changed his team with little success and a major problem has been a lack of creativity and their inability to break teams down.
It was a sluggish start on Friday with Granada causing some danger before Mustafi gave the home side the lead.
A couple of minutes later El-Arabi directed an Isaac Success cross on to the woodwork with his thigh.
Most of Valencia`s threat came from wingers Bakkali and Sofiane Feghouli although few chances were created by either side in the second half and there was whistling at the end from the home fans.