New Villarreal coach Jose Francisco Molina was denied the perfect start as a late goal from Aritz Aduriz saw Valencia earn a 2-2 draw after having been two goals down on Sunday.
It was a baptism of fire for Molina who replaced Juan Carlos Garrido, dismissed before Christmas after a woeful start to the campaign, as they faced their local rivals Valencia who were looking to reinforce their Champions League claims.
Marco Ruben put Villarreal ahead after 14 minutes with a clinical finish and then before Valencia had time to respond they were further behind as Gonzalo Rodriguez headed home a Borja Valero free-kick.
Sofiane Feghouli reduced the arrears before the break while Roberto Soldado and Feghouli both fired wide at the start of the second half.
Valencia keeper Diego Alves had to be alert to deny Valero and Nilmar.
Villarreal appeared to be heading for their first win in nine attempts until sloppy defending from Florian Lejeune allowed in Aduriz to fire an equaliser.
On Saturday Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to six points over Barcelona, who face Espanyol later Sunday, with a 5-1 victory over Granada who fell apart after a strong first half showing.
The home side went in 2-1 at the break with goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos while Mikel Rico scored in between for Getafe.
The game turned straight after the restart with strikes from Gonzalo Higuain and another for Benzema before Cristiano Ronaldo wrapped up the scoring a minute from the end.