The attacker has been in superb form at club level so far this season, helping his side open up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League table, but the competition for places in the national set-up is such that Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has deemed Mata's talents to be surplus to requirements.
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"What Del Bosque said is a reality," Mata told French radio station RMC. "There are many very good players and competition is hard. I have to work to come back, it's up to me."
Spain did not feel Mata's absence on Friday evening as they cruised to a 4-0 win against Belarus and the winners of Euro 2012 face France in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier with the likes of David Silva, Andres Iniesta and Santi Cazorla ahead of the Chelsea player in the pecking order.
Mata's Blues team-mate and compatriot, Fernando Torres, clamed on Thursday that the midfielder was "sad" not to be involved. The Chelsea star did not dispute this, although he was keen to underline his general contentment, especially with the way that the domestic season has gone so far.
He insisted: "I'd like to be with the national team but I'm OK because I'm very happy with everything that is happening to me at the moment. Things are going well for me at Chelsea."