Dawson confident Europe can spur title charge

21 September 2013 12:16

Michael Dawson believes Tottenham can handle the demands of combining European football with a Premier League challenge this season.

Spurs travel to face promoted Cardiff City on Sunday, 72 hours after an impressive 3-0 victory over Tromso in their opening Europa League group game.

Dawson, the Tottenham captain, accepts that, after a number of injuries, the trip to south Wales will test the depth of Andre Villas-Boas's squad.

The effects of competing both at home and in Europe last season were highlighted as one of the reasons why Spurs failed to beat north London rivals Arsenal in the battle for a top-four spot.

But after being joined by a number of new faces in the dressing room, Dawson believes the club have the resources to cope with fighting on two fronts.

"The squad will certainly be tested, certainly after picking up some injuries," centre-back Dawson said.

"That's why you have a big squad, because playing on Sunday at Cardiff then Tuesday at Aston Villa, the squad's going to be tested.

"It's a busy schedule but as players we love playing football and we've got to prepare right, look after ourselves and go out there and perform."

Christian Eriksen is hoping to build on his first goal for his new club after scoring the third against Tromso on his second Spurs appearance.

The Dane admits he is still settling in, but is aware of the threat posed by a Cardiff side who have already beaten Manchester City and drawn with Everton at home this season.

"I'm really excited to be here, it's a great club, nice team-mates and everything is going well.

"I read all about Cardiff because there is a Danish player, Andreas Cornelius, there.

"Unfortunately, he's injured at the moment, but they have a lot of new players and they want to build something to stay in the Premier League, so it's a tough place to play."

Tottenham have made an impressive start, suffering just one defeat, by Arsenal, despite the loss of Gareth Bale in a world record £85 million ($136 million) move to Real Madrid.

Etienne Capoue and Aaron Lennon will definitely miss the trip to Wales while Danny Rose, Moussa Dembele, Younes Kaboul and Nacer Chadli are all doubtful.

"We have started well in the league," said Tottenham manager Villas-Boas.

"It will be extremely important for us to get a win out of the game against Cardiff, understanding they beat Man City and over there (in Wales) they're very, very strong."

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay believes his team will face a Spurs side that is even stronger than last season, despite the loss of Bale.

"The talk all summer was that the Bale deal was happening, but Spurs went out and brought all those players in and then eventually did the deal," Mackay said.

"It looks to be very good business. Everyone knew in football that the players they brought in were top talents who were on the market.

"It looks like a Champions League squad now, it is absolutely a match for the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea."

But Mackay is confident Cardiff can continue a run that has brought them five points from their opening five games and taken them to a mid-table position.

"That belief is there in the camp and is certainly there within myself but it's like everything, when the evidence is there you are more convinced."

Goalkeeper David Marshall will return to the Cardiff line-up after missing last weekend's draw at Hull with a hip injury.

Source: AFP