ALI Al Habsi has hailed the “fantastic turnaround“ that has allowed Wigan Athletic to plan for an eighth successive Premier League season.
The 1-0 victory at Blackburn on Monday night made it six wins from their last eight matches, meaning Latics are already safe heading into Sunday’s season-ending clash against Wolves at the DW.
It’s a remarkable state of affairs given the situation at the beginning of February, when Latics had 15 points from 23 matches and were staring relegation in the face.
However, the Oman No.1 says the players never gave up hope and, with fantastic backing from the fans, they achieved their goal in the end.
“It’s been a fantastic turnaround, and it started when we went to Liverpool and got that big win to give the team its confidence back,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.
“Where we are today is brilliant. Everyone is talking about Wigan, and the belief of the players, staff and fans has helped us to get where we are now.
“Monday night was for the fans, because they went to Ewood Park in their thousands – which is great for the team.
“The fans are always there, even when we were warming up on the pitch before the game.
“They have been there for us from the start of the season, and they deserve what has been achieved.
“It’s been a hard season, but the last 10-15 games have been brilliant. We have taken it step-by-step to get what we wanted, and we have got exactly what we deserved.”
Latics didn’t have it all their own way at Ewood, and they had to withstand some concerted pressure from Blackburn in the second half before Antolin Alcaraz’s winning goal.
“It was a very tough game but the concentration of the players was important,” Al Habsi added.
“We got an important clean sheet which helped us to win the game.
“Now we need to make Sunday a big day for everybody, and we have to go to the DW Stadium, be ourselves and get three points that will secure 15th place in the table.”