Defence has put Spurs back in top four, says Dawson
MICHAEL Dawson believes that Tottenham's run of four clean sheets has been the key factor in the club s surge back into the top four. Spurs have now shut out Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and West Ham in succession...
By Ben Pearce
MICHAEL Dawson believes that Tottenham's run of four clean sheets has been the key factor in the club's surge back into the top four.
Spurs have now shut out Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and West Ham in succession, equalling a nine-year record - the last time they managed that feat within a Premier League season was at the start of 2001.
That sequence has helped Spurs to take 10 points from a possible 12, and Dawson admits that the defensive performances have been crucial - particularly away from home, where Spurs have traditionally struggled.
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"Keeping clean sheets is the best way to win a football match," he said. "The recent run has been nice, we all take pride in it, each player out there. It's something to build on, when you keep clean sheets it's a fantastic chance to win football matches and we're doing that at the moment.
"A few days ago we were at Fulham and got a 0-0 draw, whereas maybe a couple of years ago we might have gone there and lost. I think we've taken 16 points away from home already this year - that's the same as we did all last season. If we can keep picking points up away from home, we know how good we are at White Hart Lane."
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Having recovered from injury, Dawson started his season as Redknapp's fourth-choice centre-back, only making his first start at the end of October in the Carling Cup against Everton.
Spurs kept a clean sheet that night, only their second of the season, and it proved to be a sign of things to come - Dawson has started in five of the Lilywhites' seven shut-outs this season, and has featured in the other two.
His manager and team-mates have been quick to highlight his importance, but the 26-year-old is keen to share the praise around. And, having been forced to watch from the sidelines at the start of the season, he is keenly aware of the intense competition in his position.
"We win together and we lose together. When we keep clean sheets it's not just one player - you've got the back four and the keeper but the whole team takes pride in keeping a clean sheet," he said.
"When I came back from injury there was Woody [Woodgate], Ledley [King] and Sebastien [Bassong]. There are good defenders there and I had to work hard. You can never doubt your own ability and luckily when I've got the chance I've taken it.
"Obviously Ledley came back in at the weekend, me and Seb played the other day at Fulham. There's competition all over the park and that can only be good for Tottenham. There's lots of teams wanting to finish in that top four and it's very close. You need a squad and we've certainly got that.