Michael Dawson warns Tottenham against slow start ahead of Crystal Palace trip

Spurs have a dreadful opening day record which they will aim to put right at Selhurst Park

Michael Dawson knows Tottenham cannot afford yet another slow start to the season.

Thankfully, for those who are becoming tired of the saga, talk of Gareth Bale will be put to one side on Sunday as Tottenham begin their Barclays Premier League campaign at Crystal Palace.

A foot injury means Real Madrid and Manchester United target Bale will play no part in the encounter at Selhurst Park, where the home side will be looking to register the biggest shock of the opening weekend.

Recent history suggests Ian Holloway's side may have a chance of doing so as Tottenham have not won on the opening day of the season for the last three campaigns.

A poor start to last season, which saw Villas-Boas' men claim two points from three games, proved to be a hammer blow for the Londoners as Arsenal snatched fourth position by a two-point margin, leading Dawson to acknowledge the team must hit the ground running this season.

"We didn't get off to a flyer last season like we wanted to," the Tottenham captain told Spurs TV Online.

"We showed strength, commitment and spirit to fight back, but if we had started better then who knows where it would have taken us? Hopefully this year we can get off to a flyer.

"Hopefully it will be the start of a great year that has more ups than downs."

While Bale's on-off move to the Spanish capital has dominated the back pages over the last few weeks, chairman Daniel Levy has spent almost £60million on new signings.

Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue have all joined the north London club this summer and are available for Sunday's game at the newly-promoted club.

Dawson has been impressed by the four new additions, especially Soldado, who has scored 20 goals per season for Valencia over the last three campaigns.

"He can send you here, there and everywhere with his touches and movement. I know, I've seen it in training," the England centre-back said.

"He is a top signing and he is someone that I am sure the fans will come to adore. Nacer and Paulinho have signed too.

"It's important to bring new players in to freshen things up. I don't think you can ever stand still. Everyone is hungry to do well. It will improve us as a squad."

While much of the attention has been on the new arrivals, Spurs have also been boosted by the return of Sandro and Younes Kaboul.

Kaboul suffered a serious knee injury on the opening day of last season and missed the rest of the campaign while Sandro 's campaign came to an end in January after he was hit by a knee problem at QPR in January.

Dawson has suffered serious injuries in the past, like in 2009 when he was out for five months with ankle ligament damage, and he knows the duo will be itching to get back in to first-team action.

"It's been a long hard road for them both," he said.

"Younes played the first game of the season and we never saw him again and Sandro fell awkwardly at QPR and that was him for the season.

"It's a frustrating time but you have to try to stay as positive as you can. That's hard to do as I know but it's only yourself who can get back. They are both good characters so it's great to have them back in the dressing room."

Palace are many people's favourites for relegation after their struggle to sign new players following promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.

Dawson thinks Sunday's game will be no walkover, though.

"It will be a battle," the 29-year-old said.

PA

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