In the second-half he got round it, which shows how smart a player he is, he just played quicker.Pep Clotet
The Spanish midfielder's obvious skill on the ball has been complemented with his growing understanding of the rigours of the Championship.
Villaba was involved in the build up to Blues' winning goal against Blackburn on Tuesday, playing a neat one-two with teammate Dan Crowley. which ultimately resulted in Maxime Colin heading the ball home to claim a 1-0 success.
He also went close to adding to his goal tally for Blues against Rovers but was twice denied by good saves from Boro goalkeeper Christian Walton.
"I think he's made a huge step adapting to the league," said Clotet.
"I think he understood on Tuesday (against Blackburn), in Spain if he has the ball and someone pushes him from behind, they will give him the foul.
"Here in England if it is a fair fight, the ref will not give you the foul. You cannot expect your lack of physicality will grant you fouls.
"What I like from him is he saw that lesson very well on Tuesday, in the first-half.
"In the second-half he got round it, which shows how smart a player he is, he just played quicker.
"As soon as he saw that challenge, he doesn’t have the ball anymore and if you do that challenge it will be a foul.
"The quicker he plays and the quicker Dan (Crowley) plays, the more problems they are going to cause the opposition and the more they are going to help our team.
"They are both moving in that direction. I think they both have more to give us, the more games, the more confidence they will be a little bit better."