Cape Town - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has praised Fernando Torres after the striker scored the only goal in their 1-0 win over Villarreal at El Madrigal on Wednesday.
El Nino made the most of some shambolic defending in the 75th minute to give Los Rojiblancos their third win in a row in La Liga.
Atleti now look to have consolidated third place and automatic Champions League qualification with four games of the season remaining. They are six points ahead of Sevilla but seven behind Real Madrid in the runners-up spot.
"It was an important match for the team in which we started very well," Simeone said. "I saw the team was strong, with chances to hurt them. The key was to persist.
"Fernando finished extraordinarily well, with impressive calmness and coldness. We needed it, he needed it and we are all happy for the team, first, and obviously for Fernando.
"We benefited from that particular moment where Fernando finished with quality to decide a game that was open with two teams looking for gaps at the front."
Torres has now found the net twice in La Liga since returning to Spain at the beginning of the year, and also scored against both Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.
Atletico have another league game coming up against Athletic Bilbao at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday, and also face Barcelona in the coming weeks.