Keisuke Honda will achieve a childhood dream this evening when PFC CSKA Moskva make their quarter-final debut at San Siro but he is not allowing the excitement to affect his focus.
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Keisuke Honda has enjoyed a charmed introduction to life at PFC CSKA Moskva since arriving from VVV Venlo during the winter. His three goals in six games include one against Sevilla FC last time out in the UEFA Champions League and, as he tells UEFA.com, he is now preparing to turn out at a stadium he dreamed of as a child – FC Internazionale Milano's San Siro.
UEFA.com: What do CSKA need to do to beat Inter?
Keisuke Honda: It will be crucial for us to keep our focus and control our emotions, as it always is when you are up against a better side. We should take the same approach as we did for the match at Sevilla.
UEFA.com: This is CSKA's first UEFA Champions League quarter-final. What does it mean to your supporters, the players and the club?
Honda: Russians are looking forward to the tie as it is the first time a Russian side have got this far [in the UEFA Champions League era]. But I'm not caught up in that so won't be affected by it. I am already looking beyond this tie, hoping that we can improve our game. We are an up-and-coming team but we're not satisfied by our recent performances. If we can go up a notch the Russian and Japanese fans will see a more mature side.
UEFA.com: Are you relishing the prospect of playing at San Siro?
Honda: It's the home ground of a team I've been watching since childhood, but I can't look at it that way. You might be excited ahead of playing in your dream stadium, but those kinds of feelings won't make you a winner. I think we should prepare for the game even in this respect.
UEFA.com: Who are Inter's most dangerous players?
Honda: Last season it was definitely [Zlatan] Ibrahimović, but he is not with them any more. However, they are still at the top of Serie A and have many quality players who play regularly for their national teams. They are not dependent on any individual player so even if we kept their strikers quiet it wouldn't guarantee a clean sheet because they have midfielders with great finishing power.