Craig Dawson

Dawson: We showed character in defeat

Lesser teams might have wilted, two goals down in a London derby after 25 minutes, less than three days after they had played 120 minutes and given their all on the way to defeating a La Liga title-chasing side in European competition.

Yet this West Ham United side are made of sterner stuff.

And, while Sunday’s exertions at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ended in a late 3-1 defeat – a final scoreline which did not reflect the closely-contested nature of the game which preceded it – defender Craig Dawson took pride in the character his team displayed.

Fighting back from a difficult start, the Hammers went on to enjoy several spells where they saw plenty of the ball and created several presentable chances. 

And while the Irons could not find the second goal in keeping with the hope Saïd Benrahma’s crisp volley – assisted by Dawson’s header from a corner kick – had given them, their drive and persistence remained admirable given the challenging circumstances.

“We didn’t start the game well and we gave them two goals really, so that was disappointing,” Dawson reflected, speaking to West Ham TV.

“We were disappointed to concede two goals early on in the match, but we showed character to get the goal back and have a lot of possession.

“I think we grew into the game. We obviously got the goal back and had a lot of possession after that, we just didn’t find that final ball or that little bit of quality in the box – but the lads worked hard. 

“Being 2-0 down took away from the plan we had before the game, but it was good to get the goal back, and after that we had a lot of possession – we just didn’t quite take that chance.”

We got back into it and we were disappointed not to take it to the final kick of the game
Craig Dawson

The Irons showed few signs of the fatigue that one might have expected from them given their UEFA Europa League midweek exertions.

That they managed to press Tottenham right until the very closing moments of the game, when the hosts went direct and scored the clincher on the counter-attack, was another key aspect of the performance for Dawson. 

The 31-year-old expanded: “Obviously on Thursday night, we put everything into that and today we did again and unfortunately, we couldn’t [equalise].

“Thursday was a big night, but it was a tough start to today’s game, and that took the wind out of us a little bit. 

“We got back into it and we were disappointed not to take it to the final kick of the game.”

After eight games in the space of just 24 days, this most demanding of seasons receives its final international break after Sunday’s defeat.

With two weeks to go until West Ham’s next fixture – a Premier League game against Everton at London Stadium, for which tickets are now on general sale – Dawson has reiterated the importance of recovering properly from a gruelling programme this month.

He concluded: “Obviously there are quite a few lads going away and we’ll take time to recover, get fit and go again.

“It was disappointing [to lose] and it hurts, but we’ll go away, get freshened up and work hard. 

“We’ve got some big games coming up, so we need everybody fit and available and right behind us.”