Juventus winger Simone Pepe has thanked his coach Antonio Conte for maintaining his faith in him after yet another impressive performance in Serie A on Sunday.
Pepe opened the scoring for the Bianconeri after just 20 minutes in their 3-0 victory over Palermo in Turin to help them reclaim pole position in the league table.
The 28-year-old Italy international has been a regular under Conte for the Old Lady this season and explains that he owes as much to his compatriot as to his own hard work for his good form to the start of the 2011-12 campaign.
“I’ve made it thanks to my character, to my working involvement and thanks to a coach who trusts in my abilities,” Pepe is quoted as saying by Juve’s official website.
“Last summer when the media spoke about my possible transfer to Zenit [St Petersburg], he called me and clearly said: ‘Let’s stop with this soap opera, you won’t go anywhere.' This was very important for me.”
Juve are level on 22 points with Lazio at the top of the Serie A standings but are ahead on goal difference and also have a game in hand.
This season the Turin giants are said to be one of the favourites to win the Scudetto but Pepe is reluctant to look that far ahead into the future.
“We had no doubts about our possible performance because we know our means and our coach always spurs us,” he stated.
“The season is long, we’ve had a good start, but only time will tell us where we can get. Obviously, finding something wrong is hard now, because we keep the ball and we attack when we can, but we must go on like this.”
Conte’s side are next in action on Saturday when they travel to Rome to take on Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in a top-of-the-table clash.