Espanyol's Diego Lopez hopeful of Spain chance under Julen Lopetegui

Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez believes his chances of playing again for Spain have increased since the appointment of Julen Lopetegui as national team coach.

The 34-year-old, who is on a season-long loan from AC Milan, is having a starring role with the Catalan-based club.

Lopez has kept three clean sheets in eight La Liga starts, including in Sunday's 1-0 triumph at Real Betis -- Espanyol's second victory of the campaign.

The former Real Madrid keeper ensured his team left the Benito Villamarin stadium will three points when, at the death, he made an acrobatic save to deny German Pezzella's powerful header from becoming an equaliser.

Asked if he considered his international career to be over, Lopez told Cadena Ser: "On the contrary. I think the door has opened for everyone. I think this coach [Lopetegui] is proving that everyone can go to the national team, that you don't need to have a big name to go.

"There is a lot of competition for a place. We all have to work in the same conditions and whoever deserves it, will go.

"Those that don't need to keep working with the aim of going at a later date."

Lopez recently criticised Lopetegui's predecessor Vicente del Bosque.

Del Bosque did make Lopez his third-choice keeper for two 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa but he did not play.

Lopez made his Spain debut in August 2009 when he came on as a substitute in a 3-2 friendly win over Macedonia.

However, while starting for Real Madrid in the 2013-14 campaign ahead of veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Lopez was overlooked by Del Bosque.

He told Marca last month: "I was No. 1 at Real Madrid, I was doing well and it was normal I should be picked, but Del Bosque prevented that from happening."

A former goalkeeper, who started a handful of games for Real Madrid and Barcelona, Lopetegui has enjoyed a good start to his reign, guiding the national team to two wins and one draw in Spain's opening three 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

He left out long-serving captain Casillas and included uncapped West Ham No. 1 Adrian San Miguel alongside David De Gea and Pepe Reina as his goalkeepers in his first selection.

The 33-year-old Reina had not played for Spain since a 3-0 win over Australia at the 2014 World Cup.

"I think you need to earn a place by doing well at your club and it doesn't matter which team you play for, what your name is and how old you are," Lopez said. "This is important for Spanish football.

"I want to congratulate him [Lopetegui] because that was the manner in which Spain had to re-emerge and he is succeeding."

In the meantime, Lopez, who lost his starting place at Milan to 16-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma early in the 2015-16 campaign, is focusing on helping Espanyol climb up in the standings.

"I'm very happy here," he said. " I'm playing. I'm enthusiastic and things are going well for me."

Espanyol, coached by Quique Sanchez Flores, are 12th in the standings with only 11 points from 10 games.

"We hope Sunday's win can help us finally take off," Lopez said.

"We are improving a lot and this win will give us a lot of confidence.

"We need to follow this path."