Tito Vilanova may well be on Barcelona’s bench for Sunday’s derby against city rivals Espanyol.
The strategist had a tumour removed only days ago but made a remarkably quick recovery to preside over training sessions during the week.
Whilst his return will be welcome, Barca would have been big favourites even without him. Their 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in October remains the only La Liga game the dominant Blaugrana have failed to win this season.
“No doubt we have been very good, to be happy at this point would be easy,” reflected Andres Iniesta. “But I am convinced that if we think that then we will suffer.”
Espanyol are massive underdogs but have a new President, a new Coach, and newfound confidence.
“Some day they will have to lose – they can't win all of the time,” commented Pericos defender Joan Capdevilla. “And we hope that will happen on Sunday.”
Kick off: Sunday January 6, 6.00 (BST)