By Alberto Pinero
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has insisted Fernando Torres' dry spell in front of goal is down to bad luck with goalkeepers.
Vicente del Bosque omitted the Blues forward from his squad for Spain's upcoming World Cup qualifiers, pinpointing the striker's lack of consistency as the main reason for the snub.
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"He perhaps hasn't had the luck that strikers need," he told Goal.com. "And now, although he is doing things very well, there are times when he comes up against goalkeepers that have the game of their life against him.
"Everybody wants to be called up for the national team, and Fernando as well, of course. At the end of the day there are a lot of players who can't be called up.
"Fernando always works hard, he wants the best for the team and for him, in all the training sessions he works so hard."
The 23-year-old went on to dismiss suggestions that the Chelsea squad are distracted by fan opposition to Rafa Benitez's status as the club's interim boss.
"He has a contract until June and we all know that," he continued. "At the end of the day the club makes the decisions and they always want the best for Chelsea. If he carries on, that's fine.
"And if they think it's best if he doesn't, that's also fine. Rafa is concentrating on the day to day and nobody thinks about anything above that. If we don't achieve the current objectives, we will all be responsible."
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"I don't know [whether he would be best], we are talking about a manager who has a contract with Real Madrid," he said.
"The people at Chelsea and the fans have tremendous affection for him, but the situation is that we have a manager and he has a contract. It will have to wait until the transfer market."
Mourinho recently hit the headlines for claiming that voting for the 2012-13 edition of the Balon d'Or coach of the year award was rigged.
However, Azpilicueta has opined that the "historic" achievements of Spain boss Del Bosque made him a deserving recipient.
"Well, it's unknown whether what he says is the truth or not," he added. "Del Bosque was voted as the best manager, although they are both managers that have won everything, but what what Del Bosque has won with Spain is historic.
"I don't know if it's right what he said, but we would all prefer not to have this type of controversy. Any of the three managers nominated would have been deserved winners because they have won everything, but Del Bosque won and it is very well deserved."
Check out the second part of our exclusive interview at 15:00GMT