Pepe has some bad memories of Jose Mourinho's time at Real Madrid, but is loving life under Zinedine Zidane.
Mourinho joined Madrid in 2010 after a successful spell with Inter, winning LaLiga in 2011-2012 but falling short in the Champions League.
The Portuguese exited the Santiago Bernabeu after making enemies inside and outside the club, having become embroiled in a bitter feud with then-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
"Under Mourinho, people hated us when we got out there on the pitch," Brazilian-born Portugal international Pepe told Cadena Ser.
"It lasted three years and thank god it went very quick.
"Things changed when [Carlo] Ancelotti came in, you could see people started treating us different again."
Pepe endured a difficult relationship with Mourinho, but the centre-back is loving life again under Zinedine Zidane, who took over from Rafael Benitez in January.
"What happened with Mourinho is in the past now. I was strong and got over it. I maintained my high level at Madrid," he said.
"Mourinho and Zidane are very different, one could say they are opposites. But it's not like one is bad and the other is good.
"Mourinho has a lot of experience as a coach, with great clubs and players. Zidane has only just started in LaLiga last year. But he has played at the highest level himself and always knows what's expected on the pitch.
"Zidane has been a player and knows what we think. He had a brilliant career at Madrid, so understands what the pressure is like here.
"We need to try to enjoy these moments because they'll end one day, and he's given us all a vote of confidence by not signing new players," he added, referring to a quiet off-season in the transfer market for the European champions.
Madrid, who defeated Atletico Madrid on penalties in the final of the last season's Champions League, begin their defence of the competition at home to Sporting CP in Group F on Wednesday.