Omani stopper delighted to keep clean sheet on first Sky Bet Championship match of the season.
- “To start with a clean sheet is great for me” – Al Habsi
- Praise for a whole team effort.
- Take positives into AFC Bournemouth clash.
Latics keeper Ali Al Habsi spoke of his delight at returning to Malky Mackay’s starting XI in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Ipswich Town at Portman Road.
Al Habsi has been limited to just a Capital One Cup and FA Cup fixture this season with Scott Carson featuring in each of our previous 27 league outings.
And the 33-year-old was pleased to keep a clean sheet as well as reserving praise for his teammates in his post-match reflection on Latics Player.
“I’m so happy to be back in the team because it’s been a long time since I’ve played in the league,” Al Habsi said.
“To start with a clean sheet is great for me, that is what it’s all about for me; I’ve got to perform and work hard to keep my place in the team.
“The physical battle is always hard in this league, but I have to show confidence from the back. It was great to have a good start back in the team, matching their forwards and defenders when I came for crosses was giving good confidence to our defence and by full time we knew we deserved the clean sheet.
“It’s great to see such a solid performance in front of me today from the lads and you can see that the team is ready for the rest of the season.”
On reflection of the game as a whole, Al Habsi praised his teammates performance and felt the effort showed that his side are ready for the battle ahead.
“It was a really hard point to earn and I think the lads put in a great performance right through until the end,” he added.
“We knew before the game it was going to be like that because Ipswich are one of the top sides in the Championship.
“To come here, keep a clean sheet and take away a point is a big confidence boost for the players and the fans. That’s what we need from now on and we’ve got to continue performing like this until the end of the season.
“I think we showed that we are ready for the battle that will come for the rest of the season. We showed a lot of grit in our performance, which is something we have been missing.
“Getting a point is big for us, but we’re more happy with the nature of the performance.”
Al Habsi was also full of praise for the supporters who made the trip from Wigan to Suffolk on a cold Saturday afternoon in Suffolk.
And he hopes the positives from Saturday’s performance will transfer into next weekend’s clash with table toppers AFC Bournemouth at the DW Stadium.
“It was a long trip for the fans and I think they’ll go home happy with the performance,” Al Habsi continued. “We showed them lots of passion and motivation and I think our supporters will be more than ready for next week.
“We’ve got another big game coming up next weekend against another team who are on top of their performances right now. If we show what we showed today when we face Bournemouth then it’s going to be a much different game from the last time we played them.”