Yaya Toure stole the show with a goal in each half, and Mario Balotelli converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time to ensure victory for the Premier League side.
Roberto Mancini was happy with the performance and result, despite the fact that the Spaniards were missing the likes of Giuseppe Rossi, Marcos Senna and Nilmar.
“I enjoyed this performance. I understand that Villarreal were missing four or five important players. But it’s never easy. We had 65% of the possession, scored three goals and played well. It’s important for our confidence,” he told reporters after the game.
Key playmaker David Silva was replaced by Adam Johnson on 65 minutes amid fears that he had injured his back, but the Italian coach does not believe the knock is serious.
“I don’t think this is serious. He took a knock on his back. We play again in 60 hours against QPR. I think he can recover well,” the trainer continued.
The win lifts the Etihad Stadium outfit back up to second place in Group A, three points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who beat Napoli 3-2 at the Allianz Arena.
A Mario Gomez hat-trick but the Bundesliga side into a 3-0 lead after 42 minutes, but Walter Mazzarri’s men hit back in the second half, with Federico Fernandez scoring a brace to ensure a nervy finish.
City’s game at San Paolo against the Naples side may well now decide who goes through to the knockout stages, and Mancini knows that his side will be in for a stern test.
“At night, playing under the lights, Napoli almost always win at their own ground. They beat every team they play. But we have a very good chance to qualify now. We know that everything will depend on what happens in Naples and that if we win we will go through and, after that, anything can happen,” he concluded.
QPR are next up for the Premier League leaders at Loftus Road on Saturday.
By Gareth McKnight