Pitch is no excuse says Dawson

Michael Dawson refused to criticise Young Boys' artificial pitch after his Tottenham side only just avoided total humiliation on it on their Champions League debut.

Manager Harry Redknapp called for for AstroTurf to be banned from the competition following last night's 3-2 defeat at the Stade de Suisse in the first leg of Spurs' play-off round tie.

But stand-in captain Dawson insists there are no excuses for the calamitous defensive display that saw the visitors fall 3-0 down inside 28 minutes in Bern before finally getting going.

"We can't blame the pitch - we can't make excuses," the new England defender said.

"We were slow out of the blocks and it was disappointing.

"We trained on the pitch.

"So it wasn't a problem. If you concede early away from home, it is hard and it took us longer than we would have liked to recover.

"The performance wasn't good enough."

Goals from Sebastien Bassong and Roman Pavlyuchenko ensured Redknapp's men would retained their favourites' tag ahead of next Wednesday's return leg at White Hart Lane.

Redknapp had refused to criticise the pitch in the build-up to last night's game but let rip after the match, revealing the four personnel changes he made were all due to fears it would cause some of his players serious injury.

Although insisting it was a better surface than earlier AstroTurf pitches, Redknapp said: "It's not an excuse but I played on Astroturf myself and hated every minute of it.

"We've had it at QPR; we don't have it anymore in England.

"I don't agree with Astroturf and I don't think Astroturf should be used in a competition like this."

Redknapp, who left captain Ledley King at home due to the pitch, revealed he had held a meeting with his unhappy squad about it on Monday night.

He added: "I left four players out because they weren't comfortable on the pitch in training.

"Aaron Lennon wasn't comfortable, Robbie (Keane) had a problem with his knee. Tom Huddlestone, last time he played on Astroturf, he was out for six weeks - his knee blew up like a balloon.

"So I didn't really want to risk Tom.

"It was a case that we were pretty desperate and I threw him on."

Redknapp admitted his side got out of jail last night, saying: "It was a great defeat - if there's such a thing as a great defeat.

"At 3-0 down, we were staring down the barrel, weren't we, really?

"We were in desperate trouble."

Spurs defended appallingly in the opening 28 minutes, conceding perfectly preventable goals to Senad Lulic, Henri Bienvenu and Xavier Hochstrasser.

Their woes deepened when they lost both Jermain Defoe and Luka Modric to injuries which Redknapp confirmed made them doubtful for Saturday's Barclays Premier League game at Stoke.

On yesterday's evidence, he will need both fit for next week's return clash with Young Boys.

Home boss Vladimir Petkovic was delighted with the result, revealing he would have gladly taken it before kick-off.

He added: "It was difficult to keep the rhythm for the 90 minutes.

"Their second goal shouldn't have been made but I'm still very proud of the team."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada