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The captain remains positive about breaking into the top four despite last season’s disappointments and feels the addition of Paulinho is a great statement to rival teams

Michael Dawson believes the signing of Paulinho has made Tottenham a stronger outfit but has outlined the need to keep Gareth Bale in order to secure Champions League football.

The 29-year old says Spurs have got to "earn the right" to finish in the top four and signings like Brazil international is a step forward, but last season's 26-goal hero is key to their continuing progression.

"We had a great squad already, and keeping Gareth is massive," Dawson told The Guardian. "A little bit of tweaking and strengthening, and we'll have improved again. Now we have to earn the right to finish in the top four.

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"The signing of Paulinho over the weekend was a big statement. I saw him in the Confederations Cup this summer and he'd been strongly linked with various clubs, so it's nice for us to get our hands on him.

"I've been lucky enough to play with some top players here, like Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric, and seen them move on.

"So to keep hold of Gareth, a world-class player who had such an incredible season last year, while also bringing others in will only stand us in good stead."

Tottenham finished fifth last season, losing out on Europe’s top prize to Arsenal on the final day of the campaign despite a record points haul of 72.

It was the second season running that their rivals had produced a late-season surge to pip Spurs to fourth, and Dawson has underlined the importance to learn from past mistakes.

"There's no hiding that the end of last season was a massive disappointment," said Dawson. “I'm always positive going into a new campaign. What Arsenal did in the run-in last year was amazing.

“We have to learn from what happened, where one or two bad results ended up costing us, but also keep doing what we were doing last year, performing well on a regular basis, getting points when the going is tough, and playing that football with the same style."

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