The Hammers battled to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final last night after controversially sending off left-back Aaron Cresswell just before half-time.
David Moyes was furious with referee Felix Zwayer for showing Cresswell a soft red card for the slightest arm shot on Moussa Dembele.
West Ham, fueled by a sense of injustice, took the lead through Jarrod Bowen before Tottenham midfielder on loan Tanguy Ndombele equalized for the visitors.
But once Moyes’ anger subsides, he will look back on a resilient display that will leave West Ham in good stead ahead of the second leg next week.
West Ham can expect a hostile atmosphere in the 60,000-seater Parc Olympique Lyonnais, but Dawson insists they will take advantage of it.
“We all know what it will be like,” said the defender. “We will be ready for that. Hope we can get the right result.
“Are we going to enjoy it? Yes, of course. It will be a tough game for us. We will be professional but be ready for it. We know a little more about them now. »
Moyes refused to be fired over the controversial decision to evict Cresswell, but Bowen called it “cheap”.
Dawson added: “[It was] a big call from the ref, but the guys showed a lot of courage and togetherness to stay in the game and keep fighting.
“[The referee] made his decision very quickly, but there is not much we can do as players. We made a big change. It was a setback, but the guys worked very hard. It was difficult, but the fight was there. It was good to see the guys.
Dawson epitomized the defensive resilience displayed by West Ham in the second half as they refused to turn around on a night that showed team unity and the spirit manager Moyes instilled in his players. They have also shown at the other end that they can hurt Lyon, who are ninth in Ligue 1 but reached the Champions League semi-finals two years ago.
Moyes said he was disappointed with his team’s overall performance, which is another sign of West Ham’s progress under him. But he could be proud of his players refusing to collapse after their setback.
“We were very resilient in the second half,” he said. “We came into the break knowing that with 10 men it was hard work.
“We hung on and had a chance or two ourselves. All in all, it was more of a back to the wall performance in the second half, but we’re still with a good shout.
“We didn’t play well and we can only play much better next week.”