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"JOEL IS HARD TO BEAT"

PUBLISHED

09:49 13th March 2013

by Nick Taylor

Arouna Kone praises familiar face Joel Robles revealing their paths have crossed before.

Joel Robles’ impressive performance against Everton in the FA Cup on Saturday is not the first time that Arouna Kone has seen the Spanish stopper in fine form.

Last season when Kone’s Levante hosted Robles’ Rayo Vallecano in La Liga it was by the Ivorian’s own admission, a torrid afternoon.

“We must have had a total of ten shots on goal and he was stopping nearly everything.

“It was 5-3 in the end to Rayo but Joel had an unbelievable game.

“I couldn’t score myself, I had two one-on-ones with him and both times he stole the ball from my feet.”

Robles signed for Latics in mid-January, a moment that Kone said he was happy to see.

“When Joel signed I knew that it would be good for us because it now means we have two top class goalkeepers and I have experienced that first hand.

“We needed somebody like Joel to come in, especially because Mike Pollitt got injured.”

The rivalry between goalkeeper and forward has continued on the Christopher Park training ground, albeit now a friendly one added Kone:

“When I play against Joel in training he seems to have much more motivation to stop me again more than any other player.

“We have a lot of jokes about it that we’re carrying on a little rivalry from last year.”

Kone went on to say that the combination of Ali Al Habsi and Robles is great for the whole team.

“Joel is a very strong goalkeeper much like Ali (Al Habsi) and the confidence from the keepers spreads through the team when we play.

“When you have two goalkeepers who train the way they play, they’re annoyed when you score past them and the next time they make it even more difficult to score past them.

“It makes the strikers work extremely hard in training because we have to be perfect in order to score.”

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