MADRID, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach, Tito Vilanova has travelled to New York for a second opinion on the cancer he is suffering in his parotid gland and will not be on the dugout for his side's Copa del Rey return leg against Cordoba on Thursday night.
Vilanova's return to the dugout on Sunday to direct his side's 4-0 win against Espanyol less than three weeks after undergoing a cancer operation was the best news to come out of matchday 18 in the Spanish BBVA Primera Liga.
The Barca coach had suffered a relapse from the illness which was originally treated in November 2011.
Speaking after the weekend game, he had told the press that there was still a way to go before he was cured.
"This isn't over yet and there are days when I will be able to coach and others when I won't be able. I know I have a public position but the illness is mine and as such it is private and I ask you to respect that privacy," said Vilanova, who will see specialists at the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York.
Vilanova's trip means the Barca side will be directed by his assistant, Jordi Roura in Thursday's Copa del Rey tie, in which they take a 2-0 lead from the first leg to their Camp Nou Stadium. Meanwhile Vilanova's presence is not certain for Sunday's BBVA Primera Liga game in Malaga and Roura could also take charge for that game.
The Barca assistant sat in the dugout before Christmas as Barca enjoyed a 3-1 win away to Valladolid. The Catalan side currently have an 11 point lead over second place Atletico Madrid in the league and are 16 points ahead of bitter rivals, Real Madrid.