Spurs welcome City to north London on Sunday knowing victory is vital if they are to keep up with Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for the top four.
Dawson, and Tottenham's fans, will not need reminding what happened when City rolled in to town last season.
The England defender, and his partner Younes Kaboul, were tormented by an awesome display from Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, who put four past Brad Friedel to give Spurs the worst possible start to the season.
As Tottenham's narrow 2-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium proved, they have tightened up at the back since, giving Dawson reason for optimism ahead of what manager Andre Villas-Boas admits is a must-win game.
"It will be a tough game for them and hopefully we can put one over them after what happened last season," said Dawson, who led Spurs to a disappointing penalty shoot-out defeat to Basel a week and a half ago.
"They're all important games for us now. We were disappointed after the Basel result but we can't dwell on that.
"We have to move on, now we have six big games left and we have plenty to play for starting on Sunday."
The break that followed Spurs' heartbreak in Switzerland may have allowed Arsenal to move ahead of their biggest rivals in the race for Champions League qualification, but it has also given their injured stars a chance to regain their fitness.
Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe are expected to be in tomorrow's squad after overcoming their respective ankle and pelvis injuries while Aaron Lennon also has a chance of being available following a knee problem.
City's results have picked up of late, but their away record gives Spurs another reason to be optimistic.
Mancini's men have dropped 19 points on the road this term and they also lost all their away fixtures in the Champions League.
"They are an extremely good team in my opinion," Villas-Boas said.
"They have come back recently with good performances and they made the FA Cup final. They are a team that plays good football, they are very organised and hard to beat, their home record shows that.
"But away from home it's a little bit different. If we are organised, balanced, and if we show the desire and ambition we have a chance.
"In big games against big teams you always get that extra drive and motivation."
White Hart Lane has hardly proved to be a fortress of late, however.
A defeat against Fulham and a draw with Everton have put a huge dent in the club's Champions League ambitions, but Dawson also thinks home advantage will play a big part on Sunday.
"They lost in their last game away at Everton," Dawson added on Spurs TV Online.
"They are a top team but we have seen sides come to the Lane like Arsenal and Manchester United and they have had tough games so hopefully come Sunday night we will be happy chappies.
"We know it's a place that when it's rocking there is no better place and it makes a difference."
Although some fans would have rather been out of the competition, Villas-Boas was extremely disappointed to see his team exit the Europa League after a tense shootout in Basle.
He has been delighted by how his squad has responded in training since, though.
The Tottenham manager said: "We were very disappointed because we had high expectations in the competition, but we have moved on.
"The players have rested and we have had a great response from them since they came back so hopefully that can affect how we play on Sunday."