An early goal from Gonzalo Higuain earned Juande Ramos his first Spanish Primera Liga win as Real Madrid coach when the champions beat Valencia 1-0 on Saturday.
Ramos, who replaced Bernd Schuster last week, watched Argentine striker Higuain score after only three minutes and Dutch winger Arjen Robben run riot but it needed several saves from Iker Casillas to make sure of victory for the home team.
Valencia's Carlos Marchena was sent off midway through the second half, easing the way for Real to end a run of three straight defeats.
Real climbed to fourth with 29 points, ahead of Villarreal on goal difference but nine short of leaders Barcelona who visit Villarreal on Sunday.
Valencia remain second with 30 points.
Third-placed Sevilla visit Real Mallorca on Sunday while Atletico Madrid, in sixth, were playing at Espanyol in Saturday's late game.
Valencia were overwhelmed at the Bernabeu when Robben cut in off the right flank and set up Higuain to score with a first-time shot.
Robben was a constant menace and Rafael van der Vaart hit the woodwork as the home side dominated, and the visitors were lucky to still have 10 men on the pitch when they found their feet after half an hour.
David Villa twice forced Casillas into sharp saves as they pressed before the break and again after the restart, but Casillas kept his best for a stunning point-blank parry from a Ruben Baraja header that he pushed on to the post.
Marchena's second yellow card for a foul on Robben in the 67th minute had always been coming, and Real almost paid for some wasteful finishing as Valencia piled forward at the end.