ALI Al Habsi has a simple message ahead of Wigan Athletic’s Boxing Day trip to champions Manchester United – bring it on!
Latics travel to Old Trafford looking to pick up their first point off United at the 14th attempt. But they go into the game in good spirits after back-to-back draws against high-flying Liverpool and Chelsea.
And Al Habsi insists their recent upturn in fortunes should mean Latics roll up at the Theatre of Dreams with plenty of optimism.
“That’s five points now from three games – and three very tough games at that – which is obviously pleasing,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.
“The confidence levels have been growing game after game, and we are desperate to keep that going for as long as possible.
“It’s hard over the Christmas period with so many games in such a short space of time.
“But we have a fantastic squad, everyone is fighting for each other and it’s helping to spur us on to bigger and better things.
“There is no greater challenge in the game than facing Manchester United at Old Trafford.
“This club has never picked up a point against United, but if we play like we have in the last couple of games we have every chance.
“It will be another good day out for the fans and if we can pick anything up there it will help them to have an even happier Christmas.”
Al Habsi was the hero of Wednesday night’s goalless draw with Liverpool thanks to his penalty save from Charlie Adam, and he is ready for what’s sure to be another tough day at the office at Old Trafford.
“It was my third penalty save out of four this season, which is an achievement I’m definitely proud of,” he added.
“But it wasn’t just for myself. It was for the team and the fans, and hopefully something that everyone was able to enjoy.
“It’s not easy to play against the really top teams. You have to keep your concentration for the 90 minutes or you will get punished.
“But the defence was solid again. It was probably the best defensive performance of the season – and that solidity has been there since the Chelsea game.
“We played fantastic football, we showed good spirit and I think we have been rewarded for being brave against both Liverpool and Chelsea.
“We definitely picked up where we left off against Chelsea, and the challenge now is to continue the good work at Old Trafford.”