08:00 18th May 2017
Yann and Ali reflect on each other’s season
What a season it has been at either end of the pitch for our most experienced duo.
Yann Kermorgant and Ali Al-Habsi, each aged 35, have played a critical role in our third-place finish this year – and the pair played starring roles in our play-off victory over Fulham.
A spot-kick by Frenchman Kermorgant proved to be the decisive moment of the match, as our Omani stopper made a number of incredible stops to ensure we progressed to Wembley.
And the pair had plenty of kind words to say to each other after the final whistle sounded on an amazing night at Madejski Stadium on Tuesday…
“This guy Yann has been fantastic!” smiled Al-Habsi. “There was no pressure in the way that he took the penalty and I knew he would score. I was very confident and I’m very happy!
“We talk about it a lot – we need to be in the Premier League. You don’t often get this chance – we have taken our chance well and now we are at Wembley.
“Yann has been fantastic all season. The work he puts in when we played Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday… and at his age, I have to say well done.
“He has been one of the most important players for us this season. He’s scored 19 goals, which isn’t easy. He works very hard for himself, his family and the club. He deserves this chance to be at Wembley.”
Likewise, the French forward had lavish praise for the man between the posts.
“As I’ve said before, Ali has been outstanding all season,” Yann said. “I don’t know many man of the match awards he’s got in his house – I think he’s had to build a new room just for his trophies!
“He has been amazing, and so many times he has kept us in games. Against Fulham we could have killed the game and we had a big chance to go 2-0 up, and unfortunately we didn’t score.
“After that, they pushed a lot to try and score and once again Ali made saves and they couldn’t get that goal. We dug in until the last minute with everybody putting their body on the line. Ali made four or five really important saves to keep the clean sheet and that was enough the game.”