David Bernstein today denied forcing Fabio Capello out of the England job but admitted the Football Association did not fight to keep the Italian.
FA chairman Bernstein refused to reveal whether Capello would have been sacked had he not resigned last night over the John Terry captaincy storm.
And the man at the top of the English game insisted the FA got it "absolutely right" stripping Terry of the captaincy last week, despite initially allowing him to remain in the role following allegations he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, something the Chelsea skipper denies.
It was this u-turn that triggered Capello's departure, with the 65-year-old having publicly disagreed with the FA board's decision in an interview for Italian television on Sunday.
Efforts at a reconciliation failed spectacularly yesterday, leaving England searching for a new manager four months before the start of the European Championships.
"There was no ultimatum," said Bernstein, who explained he and FA general secretary Alex Horne met with Capello initially for an hour-long "question-and-answer" session yesterday.
"He was put under no pressure at all."
According to Bernstein, there was then a cooling-off period before he went to see Capello again an hour later, when the Italian then offered his resignation.
"I don't think we encouraged it," Bernstein said.
"Sometimes, during these sorts of meetings, a feel emerges from the participants.
"I can't read Fabio's mind but, an hour later, when I went into his office to carry on the conversations, he came up with the desire to come out of this post."
Horne added: "On the basis that Fabio felt the best thing to do was resign, we thought the best thing to do was accept that position.
"There was no point in having a manager who didn't want to be in the job."
Bernstein admitted he had no idea if Capello's departure could have been avoided, saying: "Of course it's regrettable when a manager leaves like this."
But he had no regrets about how the FA had dealt with the Terry saga, insisting they had no choice but to remove him as England captain after his trial was scheduled for after Euro 2012.
"I think we got it absolutely right," he said.
"We did feel the best solution was for the court - as we thought it would do in March and April - to come to a conclusion guilty or innocent and then we could have reacted accordingly.
"Once that changed, it changed the whole dynamic.
"Going into a European Championship with this overhanging was not the thing that we wanted."
Capello "absolutely" disagreed with that decision during Sunday's controversial interview with Italy's state broadcaster RAI.
Bernstein said: "The backing of John Terry clearly wasn't helpful the way it came across and the way that it was communicated.
"And it did give the impression of a conflict, a difference of view between the manager and the board."
He added: "It's been mega-news, not the sort of stuff that any of us want to read."
Bernstein claimed Capello had "accepted" the board's decision when informed about it on Thursday but could "understand" why the Italian might have felt undermined.
However, he added: "There are moments when the board and the chairman have to step up to the plate and strong leadership is required."
There have been reports Club England managing director Adrian Bevington disagreed with the captaincy call but he said today he "supported" it.
Bernstein also rubbished suggestions the FA and Capello had parted acrimoniously.
He said: "I just want to emphasise that, in all his time with us and yesterday, he has behaved with dignity and honour.
"Yesterday was not an easy day but we concluded matters with a handshake.
"Any reports of storming out are a complete misrepresentation of the facts."
Bernstein denied Capello, who was on a £6million-a-year salary, was an "expensive mistake" but admitted his record and grasp of English were far from perfect.
"We're never going to argue it wasn't expensive - but it wasn't a mistake," he said.
"No one's going to defend the South African World Cup performance but the qualifications that we've had have really been perfectly acceptable.
"We've performed very well away from home, less well at Wembley.
"Good sides, great sides, tend to do extremely well at home and I'll be looking forward to seeing some real, high-class performances at Wembley to get the fans excited and get that dominance at home that we all want to see."
FA PRESS CONFERENCE - KEY POINTS:
:: Stuart Pearce to take charge of team for game versus Holland.
:: Deal with replacement issue as quickly as possible.
:: Very concerned about fall-out from Sunday's interview.
:: Went into meeting with Capello with an open mind.
:: Capello was not asked to resign.
:: Refused to say whether Capello would have been sacked anyway.
:: Important to get structure right.
:: No point keeping someone who did not want to remain in the job.
:: Devoting tomorrow to look at the issue of a short-list.
:: Pearce accepted straightaway.
:: New manager will not definitely be English but there is a preference for English or British person.
:: Open-minded about prospect of a part-time role.
:: Court decision to put John Terry case back to July was the catalyst.
:: Current plans for Euro 2012 will remain in place.
:: Expect experienced top man to pick up the reins quickly.
:: New manager will make his own appointment on the captain.
:: Capello expensive - but not a mistake.
:: No-one would defend South Africa World Cup performance.
:: Hopeful new manager will instil additional confidence at home.
:: Looking for some high-class performances at Wembley.
:: Code of conduct for players in place within a few months.
:: Popular opinion will matter but FA will not be driven by it.
:: Understand why Capello felt undermined.
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