Unfair to start Honda … it’s a fact
Melbourne Victory megastar Keisuke Honda revealed that he was not ready to play 90 minutes, but declared himself ready for a second half impact role in Sunday's epic top-of-the-table clash with Perth Glory.
Honda declared his legs "100 per cent" but his conditioning "80 per cent", as he prepares for his first minutes since mid-December after recovering from a troublesome hamstring.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat said it would be "unfair" on the team throwing Honda straight in after a seven-week absence, adding that he needs to be treated with caution.
Captain Carl Valeri (hamstring) has been ruled out, with defenders Georg Niedermeier and James Donachie in contention to come in.
Honda said he was ready for the clash, which can bring Victory to within a point of Glory.
"Luckily we got a lot of points, even without me. Usually Kevin and the team would rush me if they didn't get points, but they did," Honda said.
"That gave me time to recover, and I was taking care of myself.
"I was relaxed because I couldn't do anything (more). I had knee injury in Moscow, couldn't play for 3-4 months, that was (worse). This is muscle (injury).
"Important is (to be fully fit) from March, the beginning of the Asian Champions League, so important thing is that I have to be 100 per cent.
"It's close to that point. (I'm) 80 per cent. This is a very sensitive point - conditioning and legs are different.
"My legs are almost 100 per cent, but my conditioning is not. So I need to train hard everyday from now on.
"I'm not ready to play 90 minutes yet. (How many minutes) depend on the game situation.
"I always work 100 per cent every training, so my body was tired. My mind was okay, but my body wasn't. But these injuries happen to all players."
Honda said the Asian Champions League, kicking off within a month, was a target but said the A-League title was as vital.
"Both, everything is important, we have to win every game and want to become champions again," he said.
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