Spurs star rues failure to beat Blackpool, Wolves and West Ham

MICHAEL Dawson believes that the closest relegation fight in Premier League history has made the top flight’s basement boys just as challenging as the leaders.

Just three points separate the bottom eight teams, leaving half of the division in a battle to avoid the drop in the final two months of the season.

Spurs know all about the dogged resilience of the league’s endangered outfits, having failed to beat Blackpool, Wolves or West Ham in their last three league outings.

The Lilywhites have taken just two points from a possible nine in that supposedly routine run of fixtures – and next up is a trip to Wigan, who lie at the very bottom of the league.

Dawson admits that Spurs will have to be at their best to beat the Latics after the international break, and end their charitable run of results against struggling opposition.

However, the England international feels that the wide-ranging scope of the relegation fight is keeping all of the weaker sides honest, and making the bottom sides just as dangerous as the teams in the top half of the table.

“With what happened at Blackpool and Wolves, we’re disappointed not to beat West Ham,” said Dawson. “We wanted to get back to winning ways but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

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“Wolves was a really good game, you couldn’t fault the effort there - we scored three but couldn’t keep a clean sheet.

“Everyone is fighting for their lives down at the bottom and it is going to be like that until the end of the season, so there will be plenty more points dropped by other teams.

“It’s reached the stage where the teams at the bottom are as hard to beat as the teams at the top. That’s been shown in our last three league games - and we’ve got Wigan next, which will be another tough game away from home.”

With Spurs drawing Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final just 24 hours before Saturday’s stalemate with the Hammers, questions have inevitably been asked about Spurs’ mindset going into the London derby.

Harry Redknapp’s side have now dropped 15 points from a possible 30 following their glamorous European games, but Dawson denies suggestions that Tottenham took their eye off the ball against Avram Grant’s Hammers.

“It’s always annoying when you drop points, whether it’s after a Champions League game or not,” he said. “I don’t think you could have asked for anything more from the lads. They gave it everything and played well, it was just one of those days.

“The only thing that went wrong was that we didn’t get the ball in the back of the net. Everything else was okay. We played well and we were in control of the game.

“West Ham got everyone behind the ball, similarly to what we did against AC Milan. Sometimes it’s just so hard to break them down and we have to give them credit for playing well. It’s points dropped and we’re obviously disappointed.”