Al Habsi proud of penalty save record

Wigan's Ali Al Habsi saves from Man United's Chicharito
Wigan's Ali Al Habsi saves from Man United's Chicharito

ALI Al Habsi admits his incredible penalty-saving record is all in the mind.

Javier Hernandez became Al Habsi’s latest victim from 12 yards in Wigan’s 4-0 defeat at Manchester United last weekend.

Al Habsi led the Premier League last season in terms of penalty saves, keeping out four of the eight spot-kicks he faced.

Carlos Tevez, Kevin Davies, Charlie Adam and Heidar Helguson all came off second-best against the Oman No.1, who has now saved three more penalties than any other goalkeeper since the start of last season.

“I am very proud of my record at saving penalties,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.

“That makes it one from three this season and even the two that were scored (Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Stoke’s Jon Walters) I guessed right but didn’t keep it out.

“I enjoy the challenge, the duel between the goalkeeper and the penalty taker.”

Al Habsi also revealed his secret is not in doing his homework, but gut feeling on the day.

“It’s a mixture of luck and being clever in your reading of the situation,” he added.

“I try and read which way they will go as they run up, because they don’t always go the same way and you have to be ready for that.

“Inaki (Bergara, goalkeeping coach) always give me information before the game on the opposition penalty takers and which way they like to go.

“But I don’t take too much notice of that.

“I use my eyes and my mind and I try to second guess what the player is going to do.

“I usually find that my instincts during a game are better than studying before the game, and it seems to be working so far.”