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Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas has conceded that selling Michael Dawson would have been a "mistake".

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The central defender seemed to fall out of favour at White Hart Lane on the Portuguese's initial arrival, and was widely expected to eventually move to QPR or elsewhere in the January window.

Dawson has shown resilience to force his way back into contention, however. And, when directly asked whether selling him would have been an error, Villas-Boas could not disagree.

He said: "Yes, I think we appreciate the fact we were able to hang on to him. What we told him was we couldn't assure [a specific number of games]... We decide based on the game and the characteristics of the game and the current run of form.

"We are grateful, in the end. We ended up being on the better side by the fact he agreed to stay with us. We were lucky in that sense. We won't start another season with five [central defenders].

"It's a difficult one. We have five top central defenders at the moment, a mixture of young players coming through with lots of experience, and then you have such tremendous central defenders as William [Gallas], Dawson and Younes Kaboul. My squads in the past are built on four central defenders.

"We decided to go with five this season because of a setback to Younes Kaboul. William has been a massive player for us this season… He's a player we trust a lot. Whatever we decide regarding his future, we'll have to wait and see, but we are aware of what a presence he's been for us this season."

Gallas is out of contract in the summer and, although proving reticent to speak on his own next step, the Frenchman did admit that qualifying for the Champions League would be a significant enticement to stay.

"Maybe [I will stay]," Gallas said with a smile. "That competition is the second best competition in the world. If we qualify I will be happy. Maybe, yeah, I will think more about. But I just want to finish my season very well and then I will make my decision at the end."

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