Dawson desperate for CL spot

Dawson suffered the agony of watching his team-mates take part in

six enthralling group stage matches in the Champions League while

he was sidelined with an ankle ligament injury. He hopes to enjoy a

full season in Europe’s top club competition next year and has

promised the club’s fans he and the Tottenham squad will give

everything they have to make it possible. “We want to be in there

again next season,” the defender added. “We qualified for it last

year and that’s our aim this year. It will be hard but we won’t

give up. There is still a long way to go in the chase and we have

to keep fighting until the end.” Spurs blew the opportunity to move

level with Manchester City last week when they allowed West Brom to

steal a point through a late equaliser from striker Simon Cox.

Following Monday’s 1-0 win at Blackburn, Roberto Mancini’s side are

now four points ahead of Spurs. Dawson is desperate to play

Champions League football next term after this year’s debut season

saw AC Milan, Inter Milan and Real Madrid come to White Hart Lane.

The first hurdle towards achieving that goal comes in Saturday’s

game at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea will be looking to keep

alive their slim title hopes with a victory. Spurs have not won a

game there since 1990, but Dawson knows they must beat the Blues to

keep up with City. “We were gutted on Saturday,” Dawson said. “We

dropped two points but we have to pick ourselves up and concentrate

on the massive game we have coming up against Chelsea. “We haven’t

won there for a long time but hopefully we can put things right.

“They will still think they are in the title race and they will

want to win every game to try and win the league but it’s no good

looking at everyone else. It’s down to our form and hopefully we

will get a result.” Spurs secured Champions League qualification

with a victory at Eastlands in the penultimate game of last season,

and Dawson thinks the club’s clash on the same ground on May 10

could prove decisive. “We have some big games coming up,” he said.

“We go to City and it may come down to that like it did last year

but Liverpool are on a great run too. They’re only three points

behind us now.” Spurs are likely to find out on Tuesday the extent

of Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s injury. The influential left-back was

forced off after suffering a hamstring injury in the build-up to

Peter Odemwingie’s opener and will be assessed by the club’s

medical staff when he returns to training. Redknapp is already

without defender Alan Hutton, while his replacement Vedran Corluka

missed last weekend’s game with a foot injury. Ledley King hopes to

make his first appearance since October on Saturday after returning

to light training last week following a long lay-off with a groin

problem.