Saturday December 31 2011
Pepe: '2011 was my year'

Simone Pepe realises 2011 “was the year I reached football maturity. I even learned to score goals” for Juventus and Italy.

The versatile winger and striker has been among the key figures in the Bianconeri revival this season.

“My year was a bit like that of the team, a little shaky in the first half and fantastic in the second,” he told Juventus Channel.

“I want to remember the last five months of excellent work that we spent on top of the table. I have certainly grown, especially thanks to Coach Antonio Conte, and I think this was the year I reached football maturity. I even learned to score goals.

“The Coach hammered me right from the summer, saying I had to go deep and run towards the box, which is what I’ve been doing. I was a striker at the start of my career, so I had these characteristics, but Conte really helped me to refine them.

“After all, it’s always said a player reaches his peak between the ages of 27 and 30. I am now 28. All I ask from 2012 is to stay at the top and continue doing well. The rest will come as a consequence of that.”

Juventus are joint top of the Serie A standings along with Milan and both clubs are currently training in Dubai.

“Perhaps Milan have more quality in their team, but we are hungrier and you can see that by the way we step on to the field,” continued Pepe.

“Conte is also decisive in giving us his will to win. He did it as a player and is trying to bring us that mentality in training and during a match. We mustn’t give in.”