Juventus forward Fabio Quagliarella has expressed his gratitude to coach Antonio Conte for standing by him during one of the most difficult periods of his career.
The striker struggled for both form and fitness for most of the current campaign, having missed the second half of last season with a serious knee injury.
However, Quagliarella has struck twice in his last two outings for the Bianconeri, against Napoli and Palermo, and feels indebted to Conte for keeping faith with him.
“Conte got to know me when I wasn’t in my best form, coming back from injury," he told Mediaset Premium.
"He always said he would wait for me. I’ve gone through some tough moments, I’m not denying that, but the manager has helped me a lot.
"Of course, a striker would always like to play, but there aren’t any fixed choices up front and we’re rotated depending on the opposition.”
With undefeated Juve now one point clear of AC Milan at the summit of Serie A, Quagliarella now wants to repay his boss by continuing to pop up with crucial goals during the remaining seven rounds of the season.
However, the 29-year-old acknowledges that the Bianconeri have a difficult run-in, starting with Wednesday's meeting with Lazio in Turin.
“Perhaps nobody would have expected this last summer, even though in our hearts we hoped to get to this point and give it a go," the former Napoli attacker mused.
"We’re having an extraordinary championship season, without forgetting the Coppa Italia [final]. Now we need to keep going.
“Lazio and Roma are the toughest teams we have left to play, but the other teams have great motivation when playing against us, because all of them want to end our unbeaten record.
"However, we are also motivated because we are pursuing a magnificent target.”
Juve's crucial clash with third-placed Lazio gets underway at 20.45CET.