Mata watched from afar as Spain's World Cup campaign descended into chaos; first with coach Julen Lopetegui's sacking on the eve of the tournament, and then with a penalty shootout defeat to unfancied Russia in the round of 16.
The Spanish FA have acted fast to appoint former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique as they look to rebuild ahead of the European Championship in 2020.
And Mata, 30, who was last capped in 2016, is hopeful that could spell good news for him.
"I was disappointed not to go [to the World Cup]," he told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview. "But then after that, I was hoping for them to win -- and I think we had the team to win. We had the players to play and fight for another big trophy.
"I think the generation is different, but the quality is still there. The talent is still there.
"I thought we were going to do better than we did. That's a fact. I think we all thought that. But this football and these things happen and, you know, it didn't work out as good as we wanted to.
"Now, things have changed. We have a new manager again, Luis Enrique. A manager who has played in the national team for many games. He's managed big teams.
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