I am not a cheat - Al Habsi hits back at Wenger

The shot-stopper has pleaded his innocence after accusations of gamesmanship in the Latics' shock win at the Emirates, insisting he was simply being tactical

Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has refuted Arsene Wenger’s suggestion that he "disrespected fans’ by time-wasting during the Latics' 2-1 win over Arsenal on Monday night.

The Oman shot-stopper was booked late on in the game at the Emirates for taking too long over a goal kick but has insisting he is not a cheat, and that he was simply trying to tactically relieve pressure on his side.

“When I play football I do not cheat. I used a tactic to control and contain the game,” Al Habi told reporters.

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“It’s normal when you play in big-pressure matches to control the game to take the pressure off your team.

“It’s very important for me as a goalkeeper and my team-mates in defence to do this in order to help our side."

Despite referee Andre Marriner cautioning the 30-year-old late on in the game, Al Habsi claims the referee was happy with the amount of time he was taking over goal kicks and claims he has to do it for his team.

He continued: “The ref is there to see everything and if he’s happy then so am I. I have to do it for my team.”

Monday's win saw Wigan climb five points clear of the relegation zone due to a superb series of results that has seen them beat Liverpool and Manchester United.