Sevilla edged up to third in La Liga on Sunday after a second-half goal from Rafa Mir was enough to give them a battling 1-0 win away at struggling Celta Vigo.
After being beaten by Granada before the international break, Sevilla got back to winning ways with the kind of resilient, determined performance they delivered so often last season.
They edge ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference, three points behind early leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand.
Celta sit 16th, with seven points from their first nine matches.
Mir was linked with Atletico in the summer but the Spanish forward joined Sevilla instead on a six-year-deal and now has three goals in his last four league games.
Sevilla went close in the title race last season but struggled for goals and if Mir can sustain this form, they should push Atletico, Real Madrid and Barcelona again.
Julen Lopetegui’s side now turn their attention to Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday as they hope to build on two opening draws that have left them second in Group G.
“It was a very important win,” said Mir. “We have a congested calendar but the team is on a good run of form and this game gives us confidence to keep going.”
Mir’s decisive strike came in the 54th minute and owed something to fortune as Suso cut in from the right and unleashed an effort from distance, which was blocked but deflected kindly into Mir’s path.
He slid the ball into the corner and while Celta hoped for offside, Mir was shown to have been level and the winner stood.