Latics goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi says the players have been incredibly grateful for the support of the fans over the course of a manic 2013-14 campaign.
The Oman international, who passed 100 league appearances for Latics during the season, thinks the experience of this season’s 62-game season can only work as a benefit as Latics look to bounce back to the top-flight 2014-15.
“It’s been great for everyone,” Al Habsi said. “Especially the fans, they’ve been fantastic for this football club, travelling in Europe, in cup games and the league games as well, I would like to say thanks to them.
“Hopefully next year we’ll have the experience of this league, it’s not an easy league but I think we can go into next year and push to be top from the first day until the last.
“We have to take all the good things from this year and put it into next season and hopefully we’ll play and think in the right way through the whole season.”
Al Habsi made 28 appearances over the course of the campaign after missing the opening four months due to a shoulder injury.
And the 32-year-old says returning to Latics’ starting XI for the 2-1 win at Reading in December was a personal highlight whilst the team and fans could also revel in another fine FA Cup run.
“Personally, my highlight was coming back from injury after missing half of the season and playing against Reading, especially with the win,” he added.
“For the team, the cup run was amazing; to come from the third round to get to the semi-final, beating three Premier League teams was fantastic and we went to Wembley again which was great for everyone.
“For the fans, the win against City away was brilliant because they went on to become Premier League champions and only a few of the best teams in the world won there so they enjoyed such a rare experience.”
Al Habsi also praised his teammates for another unbelievable effort during the 2013-14 season, stating that credit should be given for a sterling effort in all competitions.
“We’ve got a great group of players,” Al Habsi continued. “I think everyone here has given everything and in the end the play-off games didn’t go our way.
“It’s been a fantastic season overall; up and down with a mix of happy days and sad days but when you look back it hasn’t been easy, so many games in Europe, the Championship and the FA Cup.
“Obviously we’d have liked to have finished in the top two or achieved promotion through the play-offs but where we got to from where we were; you have to give credit to everyone.
“We’ll go away now, play international fixtures, have a short break and get back ready for pre-season.”