Former Juventus winger Simone Pepe believes the Bianconeri can progress in the Champions League by beating Atletico Madrid next week.

Pepe spent five years in Turin, starting his Bianconeri career under Luigi Del Neri before being coached by Antonio Conte.

“Delneri’s Juve was not as strong as Conte’s. There were many guys like me in the first year in Turin: Bonucci had played in Bari, I in Udine, ” Pepe told Gazzanet.

“Juve’s shirt weighed far heavier: there were many responsibilities. If Udinese didn’t win sometimes, it wasn’t a drama, but at Juve it was more complicated to manage.

“The one season with Delneri was a year of transition: until January we were second, then Quagliarella got injured, there was also some injuries in the team and we got a little lost.

Antonio Conte took over as coach the season after and bought with him a very different approach.

“Conte turned everything upside down,” Pepe continued, “He had known the Juve world for fifteen years, he had grown up there and knew all the dynamics, which keys to press to make everyone better.

“That year the club had bought Vidal, Vucinic, Pirlo and Lichtsteiner … Conte immediately told us that only those who trained would play for him. He was not interested in the names of the players, but their attachment to the team.

“And this thing carried on for the whole season. It immediately gained an important credibility towards the group.

Conte left suddenly after three seasons in charge of the club, deep into the teams pre-season preparations.

“We did not expect it would happen overnight: we had started a journey and we were doing great things,” Pepe explained.

“Everyone expected that there would be a bit of confusion after his goodbye, but Juventus has proved a great club and signed Allegri, the right man at the right time.

“Conte had us working continuously for three years, but Allegri brought something different and they immediately achieved great results. That year we won the Scudetto, the Italian Cup and we went to the Champions League final with Barcelona.

Juventus lost 3-1 in the 2015 final, a match that seemed incredibly one-sided at the time.

“Barcelona were stronger than us and used to play those games: this made the difference. For us, on the pitch, there was only Pirlo, Tevez and Buffon who had already played at those levels.

“We managed to stay in the game and maybe we could have gone ahead with Pogba’s penalty, but we lost.

“I did not play and I immediately realized that the day after would be dramatic; those players that were on the pitch would have to dispose of the adrenaline of the match before dealing with it.

“Even those who had won the cup in the past, Pirlo and Tevez, suffered a lot for the defeat.

“For me and other players it would be a dream to be able to win it for the first time. We took a big hit: we were talking about it all night without being able to sleep. It was a drama for everyone.

“My injuries? It was only one injury that repeated many times in the same place: for this reason they decided to operate. From a simple stretch I found myself stuck for two years.

“Leaving  Juventus is difficult: one would like to stay alive because you win, you take away a lot of satisfaction and play at the top. Without the injury I could have done something more: in the first two and a half years I had shown I could stay at Juventus.

“In the first year with Delneri I scored 6 goals, with Conte at the beginning I did so too. I have to thank the champions I played with because I was not a champion: they helped me express myself at even higher levels.

“Morata? Alvaro is a great player: he is there for everyone. But at Juventus Zidane left and other strong players arrived: the same thing happened when Pogba and Vidal left. The club  counts more than the players. I think this is the strength of the club: the players and coaches are passing through, but Juventus remains.

Juventus have been criticized for only winning in Italy of late, while failing to win the Champions League

“Winning is difficult everywhere: from the third division to the second, let alone in Serie A!,” Pepe explained.

“Juve have won seven championships and everyone thinks it’s easy to do it, but it’s not like that. In Europe the path has been important: making two Champions finals is a great result.

“When you start losing, a bit of anxiety takes over, which makes you think you’ll never win this blessed Cup. This year the first leg of the second round has been bad, but I think that Juve can overturn the result even if Atletico knows how to defend itself better than anyone else.”