Al Habsi full of praise despite defeat

Wigan Player Ali Al Habsi

Wigan Player Ali Al Habsi

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ALI Al Habsi says Wigan Athletic have set a benchmark in terms of performance level, despite going down to a narrow defeat at Newcastle.

Latics saw their losing streak stretch out to seven matches after the 1-0 loss, but the result was unbelievably harsh on a visiting side who dominated for long periods, and should have been out of sight before Yohan Cabaye’s late winner.

Al Habsi admits the performance was ‘on a different level’ to the previous weekend’s shambles against Bolton, and believes a similar showing in the coming weeks will see Wigan finally start to pick up some much-needed points.

“We showed a fantastic attitude, we were solid across the park, but we just didn’t take our chances,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.

“It was important to show a response to what happened against Bolton, and we did that.

“And to lose the game is almost too hard to take.

“We deserved at least a point, if not more, and if we can continue to play like that, I’m sure we’ll be all right.”

With vital games coming up against fellow strugglers Fulham and Wolves, Al Habsi knows Latics have to maintain this level of performance if they are to get out of trouble.

He also revealed that the seeds of the improved showing were sewn behind closed doors at the club’s training ground.

“Everybody had their say after what happened against Bolton – the gaffer and the players – and the response was there for everyone to see,” the Oman No.1 added.

“The whole team was outstanding, from front to back, and we can’t allow those standards to slip over the coming weeks.

“We have two massive games coming up now, against Fulham and Wolves, and we absolutely have to take something out of both of those to give us a chance.”

Meanwhile, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed he is considering signing El-Hadji Diouf after inviting the forward for a trial.

Diouf, who had been training with Latics, is currently a free agent after leaving Blackburn, and has recently been linked with a move to Doncaster.

“El Hadji is one on our list,” said Allardyce. “We are now scouring the country for what players might be available for loan or are not fixed up.

“El Hadji hasn’t been fixed up, so I have invited him for training, and will have a good look at him.”