Michael Dawson is desperately hoping Tottenham will not suffer yet more Champions League heartbreak tomorrow.

The only way that Tottenham will qualify for the Champions League in this weekend's final round of matches is if they beat Sunderland at White Hart Lane and the Gunners drop points at lowly Newcastle.

Spurs narrowly missed out on the Champions League two years ago and last year Dawson led the team to fourth place, only to be denied a place at Europe's top table thanks to Chelsea's victory in Munich.

Dawson was also part of the Tottenham team that just failed to qualify for the competition seven years ago thanks to a dodgy lasagne.

If Spurs beat Sunderland tomorrow they will end with 72 points - a club record in the Premier League era. That will be of little consolation to their captain, though, after the final day turmoil he has suffered at the club since he joined in 2005.

"If we win and get 72 it will be a great season, but it will only be a fantastic season if we get that Champions League spot," Dawson said.

"That's what we set out to achieve at the start of the season.

"If we can get that number of points then great, but we want to be in the Champions League with the way we missed out on it last year."

"It will only be a fantastic season if we get that Champions League spot" - Michael Dawson

Tottenham's 2-1 win over Arsenal on 3 March  left the team seven points clear of their rivals but, just like last year, Spurs' form has dipped in the last quarter of the season.

Tottenham have won just four of their eight Barclays Premier League fixtures since that date, with defeats against Fulham and Liverpool taking the team's destiny out of their own hands.

On paper, they could have hardly wished for a worse team to rely on than Newcastle.

The Magpies have won just three of their last ten games and only secured their survival last weekend by beating QPR.

Toon boss Alan Pardew hardly seemed up for the game following the win at Loftus Road when he said: "I don't really care if Arsenal (beat Newcastle) 4-0.

He has, however, backtracked on those comments since.

Dawson thinks there may be one last twist in the tale, but he insists his team cannot afford to concentrate on what is happening at St James' Park.

"There may be another twist to come," the defender told Spurs TV Online.

"But all we can do is concentrate on what we do, and fingers crossed Newcastle can do us a favour.

"We have just got to go out there and get three points and see where it takes us on Sunday evening."

Arsenal's 4-1 win over Wigan on Tuesday means Sunderland are safe, but manager Paolo Di Canio has made it clear to his players that he will not tolerate any sub-standard performances tomorrow at White Hart Lane.

The Italian this week called on his players to end the season "with dignity" and threatened to cut short the number of holidays taken by squad members who are not pulling their weight.

Game On - 13 May 2013

Dawson is sure the Black Cats will be giving it their all tomorrow afternoon as a result.

"I don't think it will make a difference (that they are safe) with Paolo Di Canio," the centre-back said.

"He will have them riled up. He will want to get 110 per cent commitment from them.

"They will want to put on a performance and we have to make sure that we stop that and play the way we know we can.

"The atmosphere will be great. It's the last game of the season and hopefully we will get the three points and it will be good enough."

Spurs left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto is fit after recovering from the knee injury that ruled him out of last weekend's win at Stoke.


Highlights and analysis of all the action in the Premier League on Premier Soccer Sunday from 20:00 on Sunday 19 May on RTÉ Two.