The Three Lions made just one switch during a 1-1 draw in Podgorica, with Ashley Young introduced after the hosts had snatched a 77th-minute equaliser.
Hodgson has been criticised for failing to stem a second-half tide, with England finding themselves holding on after dominating the opening exchanges.
The vastly-experienced coach has sought to defend his tactics by pointing out that he did not have anyone on the bench who could have altered the course of the tie.
He said: "You're always debating changes, talking with your staff. But at 1-0 we weren't 100 per cent convinced there was a change we could make to make a vast difference to what was going on.
"Whether it was down to the fact we played less well or Montenegro played better, I don't know.
"But our intention in the second half was to try and repeat almost exactly what happened in the first half. For one reason or another, it didn't happen.
"We weren't trying to see the game out 1-0, though sometimes it's the only thing you can do if your opponents are having a good time. We got close to doing that.
"We were trying to hold on to make a change at a slightly later time and we were trying to make it at the corner kick.
"We wanted to move Steven Gerrard deeper and move Ashley Young into the wide positions. But it didn't help us stop conceding the goal because they scored as we made it."