DARYL GURNEY believes that his year-on-year improvement in the Unibet Premier League is most important from this season, regardless of whether he reaches the Play-Offs.
Gurney sits in fifth place in the league table going into the final two league nights, as he aims to cap his second Premier League campaign with a semi-final appearance.
He is just one point behind James Wade and Mensur Suljovic - who sit in third and fourth place - following Thursday's superb 8-5 defeat of World Champion Michael van Gerwen in Manchester.
Despite a whitewash against James Wade in March, Gurney has already equalled his points tally of 16 from 2018, when he won four games and drew eight, and is also the only player this year to have completed a league double over Van Gerwen.
Thursday's win was Gurney's seventh of the season, and he admitted: "I needed to get something out of that game to keep my hopes alive.
"If I'd lost that game it still wasn't all over, but I've won that game now and if I go in with the same temperament I can win the next two games.
"To finish in the top four I'll be a very happy man, but if I didn't then as long as I matched or beat the points tally of last year I'd still be happy.
"If I didn't make it, it wouldn't be heartbreaking. I know I've given it a good shot but nobody's taken a bigger beating than me with a 7-0 and 7-1.
"That probably would have destroyed a lot of other players but that's just how I play darts, it's just another week. One week I'm fantastic, the next minute I can't hit the wall with a washing board!
"Hopefully next week if I can get some kind of result, I can still be at The O2. If I can turn up next week and pretend that Gerwyn Price is called Michael van Gerwen, I'll be alright!"
Gurney has now won three successive televised games against Van Gerwen, having also taken victory in the Players Championship Finals last November.
"I do fear him, but I don't panic any more - I probably tried too hard over the last couple of years," Gurney added. "Whenever I play Michael, if you don't play your A-game you're going to get beaten.
"At the start I did that. It's two on the bounce against Michael in the Premier League so I'm glad to get that result."
The Unibet Premier League continues on Thursday May 9 at The FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, where the other ties see Rob Cross take on Mensur Suljovic, Van Gerwen play Peter Wright and James Wade face Michael Smith.
For tickets, call 0114 256 5656 or click here.
Unibet Premier League
Night 15 - Thursday May 9
The FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield
Michael Smith v James Wade
Mensur Suljovic v Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Tickets: 0114 256 5656 or click here
Unibet Premier League - Night 14 Photo Gallery