Michael Smith has not been in the best form (Picture: Getty Images)Michael van Gerwen has slammed Michael Smith’s mental fortitude ahead of their US Darts Masters quarter-final on Friday night.
The pair meet in the last eight in Las Vegas, in what will be their fourth contest of 2019, with MVG winning the previous three, including the big one – the World Championship final in January.
Mighty Mike has a fabulous record against Smith, leading their head-to-head 28-6 and while he recognises the immense skill of the St Helens star, the Dutchman believes his problems are upstairs.
‘With all due respect, Michael’s talent is phenomenal, but in the mental aspect he is weak, we all know that,’ Van Gerwen told Live Darts.
‘In darts you need to have a clear mind and sometimes for him it’s not the case, he thinks about his game too much or other things outside darts. You need to have your focus.’
Michael van Gerwen beat Smith in the World Championship final this year (Picture: Getty Images)Since Van Gerwen beat Bully Boy in the final at the Alexandra Palace, the form of the two men has been wildly contrasting, with MVG cementing his place at the top of the world rankings, while Smith has struggled.
The 28-year-old has reached two ProTour finals in 2019 but is yet to win a tournament of any kind, he had a largely forgettable Premier League campaign and a semi-final run at the UK Open has probably been the highlight of the season so far.
In comparison, MVG has won nine titles in 2019, including the World Championship, most recently lifting the Premier League trophy for a fifth time in May.
Smith is frustrated with his struggles, but is still confident he can turn things around when he meets the Dutchman in Vegas.
‘It’s the stress going with it,’ Smith continued to Live Darts. ‘I know it’s there and I’m trying to force it to happen instead of just relaxing.
‘I’m trying to change my stance when I had a problem with my foot it was nice to stand up straight, now I can lead forward again it feels different because I’ve had four weeks of practicing differently. But it’s just excuses.
‘I’ve just got to get on with the game. If I lose a game I’m not dead am I? There’s another day to live for, another day to practice, another day to see my kids and my missus.
‘Form means nothing. It only happens on the day you play. If I turn up I’ll win, if I really turn up I’ll smash him.
‘If I turn up like I have been doing the last two months then I’ll walk home 8-0 or whatever.’
US Darts Masters 2019 quarter-finals
Michael van Gerwen v Michael SmithGary Anderson v Gerwyn PriceRob Cross v Nathan AspinallDaryl Gurney v Peter Wright
The final session of the US Darts Masters begins at 8pm UK time on Friday 5 July, with coverage on ITV4.
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