Michael van Gerwen tells Michael Smith he needs to toughen up to win titles

Michael van Gerwen has suggested that Michael Smith needs to toughen up if he wants to win his first PDC major title.

Smith most notably lost the 2022 PDC World Championship final to Peter Wright and with only a Shanghai Darts Masters win in 2018 to his name, a PDC premier event still eludes him. The two face off in the first round of week seven in the Premier League in front of MVG’s home crowd in Rotterdam.

The Dutchman sits top of the table thanks to winning back-to-back nights in week four and five of the tournament. Smith sits in fifth, a place below the play-offs as he still searches for a first night win after losing last weeks final to a rampant Gary Anderson.

Ahead of their clash, MVG suggested Smith has to have thicker skin after it was alleged before the final last week he became upset when Wright said to Anderson: “Good luck Gaz, he can't win in a final.”

But Van Gerwen said: “Why is he worrying about what people say, that’s exactly what I mean. If people say that about me do you really think I care?

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“When things don’t really go his way, when his head isn’t 100 per cent there, it’s also easy to hurt him in important moments. Michael is a very talented dart player but you need to try and find his weaknesses and play it from there and put him under pressure straight away, put your ability above him and that’s the only thing I can do.

“Me and Michael have had some good games, he’s also in good form but my mental aspect and the home crowd, of course I’m going to be favourite tomorrow but you still have to do it yourself.”

Mighty Mike did hit out at Wright, who he whitewashed in the week four final, for the comments, saying: “I wouldn’t make jokes about that because I think you then show your own weakness, you’re crossing a line there I think.”

Playing in front of a home crowd tonight in the Premier League for the first time since 2019, MVG said: “I’m excited to go for tomorrow, playing at home after three years is quite important for me. It’s an important evening for everyone. For every dart player it’s nice to play (there) with the atmosphere and the noise out of that venue is insane.”

No one would’ve thought it a couple years ago with MVG on top of the world of darts but since losing his number one spot the Dutchman finds himself as rank four, previously being as low as fifth. Bully Boy sits above him in third.

Very defensive when asked about it, MVG was adamant it gave a false perspective: “Of course it’s false. Of course you want to be higher on the rankings and I know how it is. I’m always quite tough on myself and if I always blame someone it’s myself but sometimes you need to look to the reality.”

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