After praising the team for their efforts against Burnley – a game we lost – this match report may make little sense to those of you who subscribe to the Neil Warnock school of thought that the result is all that matters in football.

Let’s start by accepting this season is already over. We’re not going to get relegated and there’s no danger of us threatening the play-offs, but that should come as an invitation to mix things up, a chance to experiment and try to put a system and style of play into place that’s as effective as it is entertaining to watch, something that gives the fans reason to turn up on a Saturday afternoon while also creating a sound-footing on which to build next season.

Instead, McDermott went with the same line-up and system we played against Burnley, a desperately poor setup which is reminiscent of the Neil Warnock days, perhaps even worse.

Heavily reliant on the aerial threat of Matt Smith, the system calls for the sacrifice of McCormack and Wickham, two of the best ball-playing strikers in the division, who are pushed wide to provide service to Smith while also helping out the dreadfully ineffective midfield three of Murphy, Austin and Mowatt.

Matt Smith is the only winner in this situation and in fairness to him, he took the opportunity and performed well. Ross McCormack and Connor Wickham meanwhile are wasted.

McCormack did manage to get on the scoresheet and Wickham’s performance was one of the best on display for Leeds, but neither of them are at their strongest out wide, it’s a huge waste of their talents.

It’s also eerily familiar to Warnock once again. McDermott’s early success can be attributed to his vision of seeing how wasted certain players were in the positions Warnock had them playing, he immediately addressed that by creating a system which returned each player to their strongest position and our fortunes quickly changed.

It’s not that the system doesn’t have it’s strengths, away from home to a top two side, absorbing pressure and hoofing long is the best you can hope for sometimes. But at Elland Road against injury-plagued relegation fodder, is this really the best we can come up with?

Poor defending from Millwall, good fortune and an embarrassment of (somewhat wasted) riches up front for Leeds is the reason we led 2-0 at half-time. Matt Smith headed home from a Connor Wickham throw to open the scoring against the run of play and McCormack doubled the lead when he beat the keeper to a hoofed ball up field, but the scoreline flattered a Leeds side who’d been second-best for most of the first half.

Despite their injury crisis and relegation troubles, Millwall were far more comfortable in possession than Leeds and if they’d had a decent goalscorer, the scoreline would have been very different.

The second half saw no improvement. Leeds continued to be outplayed by the visitors and our midfield was still being outclassed by a bottom three side when a flurry of substitutions saw the visitors turn the screw, leading to a thoroughly deserved breakthrough which reduced Leeds’ lead to one goal, setting up a panic-stricken finale which any other team would have taken full advantage of to steal all three points.

Leeds’ two goals helped to disguise how poor we were first half, but the second half left no room for illusions, The Whites were being hammered on home soil by one of the division’s worst teams.

That we won the game is entirely trivial because the season is over and no progress has been made, any other team would have taken us to the cleaners today. We seem totally incapable of dominating possession, there’s no composure in the entire team and the result makes for painful viewing.

Recent form suggests this side should be in the relegation zone along with Millwall and we did nothing to suggest otherwise. Our midfield is the worst I’ve ever seen and I’m including the one Neil Warnock’s anti-football spent last season trying to bypass in that assessment.

It’s not that Austin, Murphy and Mowatt are bad players, they just don’t work together at all. There’s no understanding between them, they’re not comfortable passing the ball around and the less said about their movement and defensive play, the better.

In fact, the only two players who seem to share any understanding of each other’s game are Byram and Mowatt. We saw it at Turf Moor and again against Millwall, when these two link up Leeds actually look like they have a plan, but it soon falls apart when another player is added to the equation. As such, Mowatt isn’t helping the Murphy and Austin dilemma while Byram is doing more good for the forwards than the backline he’s supposed to be a part of.

All of this makes me wonder what the team are actually doing in training? How can Austin and Murphy look like such strangers after playing alongside each other and training together all season? Why does it take Jack Butland to organise a defence who should be intimately familiar with each other and know exactly where they’re supposed to be and where each of their fellow defenders will be? And for the love of all that is holy, why are we wasting an embarrassment of attacking riches by playing two of the Championship’s most talented strikers out-wide?

This isn’t what we signed up for with McDermott, he was expected to build a better ball-playing team who’d work hard out-of-possession and know how to control a game. Instead we’ve gone full circle and somehow arrived back at Neil Warnock football, only McDermott has added new players to that dreadful team and somehow made us worse.

And while I have some sympathy for the takeover chaos McDermott has been working under, that excuse only takes him so far and my patience is running on empty. I just don’t understand what McDermott is doing any more, there’s no discernible improvements despite the additions he’s made, I can’t see the effects of training and the players look like absolute strangers.

One year on and we’ve made no progress whatsoever, worse still, we don’t seem to have a plan.

If there’s a silver-lining to all of this, it’s the three points which brings to an end the dismal run we’ve been on and will hopefully restore a bit of confidence. But McDermott has to start thinking further ahead than this season, we should be using these games to develop a better system than one which allows an injury-ravaged relegation side to make us look poor on our own turf because this is every bit as bad as the team he inherited.

Man of the match goes to Vinnie Jones for leading Elland Road in a chorus of Marching On Together at the interval. It was far more entertaining than the football.

On and on…