The Rhinos were beaten 21-6 at the DW Stadium on Friday night, making a top-three finish impossible for them this season.
Despite being assured of a place in the playoffs, McDermott admits that he and his players were hoping to end the campaign at the top of the standings.
"It's not great. Never mind top four or top two, we wanted to be top and it doesn't make good reading. It's a big thing for a club like Leeds," he told Sky Sports News. "It's something we're not proud of and it's not lost on the players.
"At the same time, the playoffs are an exciting prospect. The likelihood is that we'll finish fifth or sixth and we'll plan for that."
Leeds return to Super League action next Friday when they travel to Hull FC.