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Dawson expects hostile reception
Published : 17 Aug 2011 17:36:00
Tottenham captain Michael Dawson predicts that he and his team-mates will be given a hostile reception when they take on Hearts at Tynecastle. Spurs face Hearts in Edinburgh on Thursday night as they look to follow up their success in last year's Champions League with a similar run in Europe's second biggest club competition. Many, including Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, regard the Europa League as an unwanted distraction, but Dawson is determined to add another winner's medal to his collection after helping Spurs lift the League Cup in 2008. Before they can start thinking about adding silverware to the White Hart Lane trophy cabinet though, they must beat Hearts over two legs to reach the groups stages. Tottenham have vastly superior quality and strength in depth than their opponents, but Dawson has warned a tough test lies ahead for the Londoners given the ferocity which usually accompanies Anglo-Scottish encounters. Tottenham went 3-0 down in the opening half hour of the first leg of last year's Champions League play-off against Young Boys Berne before rallying to take the tie 6-3. Dawson admits that was a nerve-wracking experience and does not want a repeat against Hearts. "It's going to be hostile and we have to be ready tomorrow," Dawson said. "We went to Young Boys a year ago and the first half an hour was a disaster. "We have to go out there all guns blazing because they certainly will be and we will have to be ready." After taking on Inter Milan, AC Milan and Real Madrid last season, Dawson concedes the Europa League does feel like a big step down, but he is focusing on getting his team to the final in Bucharest next summer. "There's no doubt (the Europa League is a step down) but we enter it and we go out there to win it. It's a trophy that would be nice to lift. "We know the league is our main aim but we try to do as well as we can in each competition and we all want to go out there and win it." Rioting near Tottenham's White Hart Lane home in north London caused the postponement of Saturday's season-opener against Everton, meaning tomorrow night will be the first time Harry Redknapp's team have played competitively this term. Dawson was disappointed to see the match delayed but is confident it will have no bearing on tomorrow's result, despite the fact that Hearts are already six matches into their season. "It was a strange situation for us after six weeks of grafting and hard work aimed towards Everton, but circumstances unfortunately meant it just wasn't possible to get the game on," the England defender said. "It was frustrating because you are always focusing on the opening game but with everything that had gone off, it wasn't possible for the game to go ahead but we have had pre-season games as everyone else has had. "Hearts are a few games ahead but we are ready and the players are excited to get out there and get their first game."