Michael Dawson desperate to avoid Europa League
Tottenham captain Michael Dawson admits that playing in the Europa League next season would be a big let down after the experience of taking part in the Champions League left him desperate for more.
Spurs bowed out of their maiden campaign Europe's biggest club competition at the quarter-final stage last night after a 5-0 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid.
Following the exit, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was quick to emphasise the importance of clawing back the three points that separate his team and Manchester City, who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot.
Having beaten both Milan giants before losing to nine-time European champions Madrid, Dawson is keen for Tottenham to pip City to fourth and go head to head with the continent's biggest sides again next year.
"The Champions League is where you want to be," Dawson said.
"For the last couple of seasons we've been in the Europa League but every player wants to play in the Champions League and play against the players that were on show last night.
"Real Madrid have got some world-class players and every player wants to test himself against the best.
"It was a tough test, but we've been there, we've done it and now we're hungry for more."
Madrid looked the better of the two teams over the tie, but there may well be a nagging thought in Harry Redknapp's mind that his team could have overcome their opponents had it not been for two costly individual errors.
Heurelho Gomes' mistake in spilling Cristiano Ronaldo's shot into his own net was a poor way for Spurs' campaign to end, but in truth the damage had already been done after Peter Crouch's 15th-minute dismissal in the Bernabeu proved to be the catalyst for the 4-0 first-leg defeat.
Dawson, who missed all the club's group-stage games through injury, still believes that Tottenham should be proud of their achievements though.
He said: "We knew, after last week, that it was going to be an uphill task, but we came out in the first half and played well.
"We had a couple of chances and a couple of penalty shouts. We can hold our heads high."
Gomes' failure to hold onto Ronaldo's second-half strike will have done little to dampen the worries over the Brazilian's reliability, but Dawson has backed his team-mate to recover from the setback quickly.
"It's unfortunate for Gomes, I'm gutted for him because he's been fantastic," Dawson said.
"He's pulled us out of trouble on many occasions so it's unfortunate for him but we win together and we lose together."
Latest in Sport
Moments of truth: Matches against Liverpool, Olympiakos and Manchester City will go a long way to defining David Moyes' long-term future at Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal: And finally... Arsenal can call on Kim Kallstrom
How F1's first lady is driving Williams back to the top
France 20 Ireland 22 match report: Ireland hold on to give Brian O'Driscoll perfect end to glittering career
Michael Schumacher: Sebastian Vettel pays tribute to F1 legend with special helmet for Australian Grand Prix
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
- 3 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say