I don’t know what it is about the 4-4-2 diamond that’s been so appealing to a succession of Leeds United managers, but it gives no consideration to our players’ best positions.

Rodolph Austin is no more a cultured defensive midfielder capable of spreading the ball about than Stephen Warnock is a pacey full-back who can burst forward and provide width. And those two positions are fundamental to the success of the formation.

What we ended up with instead was a team of players uncomfortable in a narrow formation Brighton found pathetically easy to dominate.

In possession, which in the first half especially was a rare occurrence, Leeds’ central midfielders and defence had no outlet for the ball. Brighton successfully and effortlessly suffocated the centre of the pitch every time Leeds got possession and since we have no outlets in wide positions, the only option for whoever had the ball was to pass it to someone else who was being crowded out or hoof it forward – or, as was more commonly the option we went for, give it back to Brighton.

And the worse thing is, for all David Hockaday’s talk of ball retention (we managed just 30% on home soil in the opening 45 minutes), a place in the starting XI for Matt Smith in such a narrow formation – with no one on the pitch who was likely to put crosses in for our beanstalk of a centre-forward – suggests The Hock had played him as a target man for balls to be hoofed at.

These players in a 4-4-2 diamond are NEVER going to produce possession football. Add a decent defensive midfielder and some attack-minded full-backs then sure, the formation has merit, but we don’t have that luxury so for crying out loud, can we please stop trying it!

On home soil against a team who’d lost their opening two fixtures, it was an incredibly negative approach and we got exactly what we deserved.

That’s not to say the formation was the only issue last night, the selection left much to be desired (David Norris is still alive!?) and the effort many of our players put in fell a long way short of an acceptable standard.

But preparation counts for a lot, and when you send your team out to line-up in a formation they’ve never looked comfortable in, a formation so pathetically easy for a team like Brighton to deal with (crowd the centre when Leeds have the ball, spray it around and stretch us to create gaps when in possession) you’re already losing the battle.

Mercifully, The Hock saw sense in the second half and changed things around, reverting to the 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation we’ve looked more comfortable in for about 3 years now (not that any manager seems to have noticed that) and while I can’t agree with Hockaday’s post-match comments that we “dominated” in the second half, we certainly improved and looked a bit more like the home team.

It wasn’t enough though and Leeds went on to lose the fixture 2-0, embarrassed and totally dominated for long periods by a side who’ve struggled at the start of this campaign and should have been there for the taking.

On and on…