Luke Littler says Man United loss inspired him to win Premier League homecoming

By Sports Desk April 04, 2024

Luke Littler was inspired to win his Premier League homecoming by Manchester United’s late collapse at Chelsea.

Littler, a staunch United fan, came on to stage at the AO Arena in Manchester moments after watching his side conceded two goals in injury time to lose 4-3 at Stamford Bridge and claimed a second successive weekly Premier League win, beating Gerwyn Price 6-3 in the final.

The 17-year-old star, who enjoyed a maiden victory in Belfast last week, was happy to give United fans in attendance something to cheer about.

“We were watching backstage, we were winning 3-2 and we conceded a penalty and Cole Palmer scored and then he scored again,” Littler said.

“I was in a bad mood, I was like, ‘I’m winning this now’. It gave me motivation.

“There were a few Manchester United fans on the walkout so I was glad to win.”

Price had thrown an epic nine-dart finish against Michael Smith in the semi-final, but was not good enough to get past the teenager, who was imperious in the final.

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Victory sends him to the top of the Premier League table as his star continues to burn bright following his breakthrough at the World Championship over Christmas.

Having already won titles at the Bahrain Masters, PDC Players Championship and Belgian Open, he is now all-but certain to qualify for the play-offs at the O2 in London.

“I just try and live my life as I have done so far,” he said. “As a 17-year-old boy, I just know every week playing these guys I have looked up to, I just thrive off it.

“All I do is stay in my zone. I just do what I do.”

Price produced his best performance of this year’s competition and became the first man to throw a perfect set of darts since he did it twice in a night in Belfast in 2022.

And his run to the final raises his hopes of getting to the O2, though he has a lot of work to do in the final few weeks.

Littler’s night started well as he took a winning record in his rivalry with Michael van Gerwen.

It had been tied at 3-3 but Littler moved ahead with a 6-3 quarter-final win before beating Nathan Aspinall in the semi-final, thanks largely to 131, 90 and 136 checkouts.

Price was superb in beating Peter Wright in the quarter-final before a magnificent performance, capped by the nine-dart finish, sent him to the final.

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