Fabio Capello sidestepped reports of a communication problem with his England squad after Paul Robinson and Wes Brown both retired from international football at the weekend.
The Blackburn goalkeeper and Manchester United defender both made their decisions after being called up for Wednesday's friendly against Hungary at Wembley.
"I accept the decisions," said Capello.
"Robinson called us and said he wanted to stay at home. I spoke with Brown here. I told him why I didn't select him for the World Cup because he didn't play for the last two months (of last season).
"This time I selected him because he played all the pre-season games but he said, 'thank you, but I've decided I prefer to stay at home'. You have to accept what they want to do. I think it's an honour to be with the national team and to play for England."
The Italian was heavily criticised for his role in England's poor World Cup showing in South Africa.
He attributed the last-16 exit to tiredness and the mindset of the players, although he admitted he is unsure how to fix the problems.
He said: "South Africa wasn't good but we did not play at the same level that we played in qualification. When you play a World Cup competition, you have to arrive in really good physical condition.
"We were not so fresh as the games we played before the World Cup. We changed some things but it was not enough. Another thing really important thing is the mind of the players. We played not with confidence but with fear. I don't know what we have to do to improve the mind of the players."
Asked if he thought he was a better manager following the tournament, Capello added: "Every experience is important for the players, the manager - I learned a lot."
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