Former Leeds United boss says all he needed was time and trust.
The former Reading manager was sacked at the end of last season after new owner Massimo Cellino decided he wanted a change of direction, and Leeds have had a tumultuous 2014/15.
They are onto their third permanent head coach in Neil Redfearn, whose status into next season is still to be confirmed despite some encouraging signs.
Leeds' current form has trailed off since assistant Steve Thompson was suspended, and McDermott believes this is the sort of off-field drama Leeds could do without.
Speaking about his own tenure at the club, he is disappointed it could not continue further, but accepting of Massimo Cellino's decision.
He said: "I look back at that time (last season) and think could I have done better. I think this season I could have got them to the top six I have no doubt.
"I just needed that time and support. The only way any football club can thrive is everybody going in the same direction. It is a fantastic football club and I do miss it."
McDermott pointed out he helped Leeds reach the fifth position during 2013/14 ahead of Christmas, but their form trailed off, with the nadir a 6-0 loss to Sheffield Wednesday. It would be wrong to absolve McDermott of fault and put the blame on the distraction of Massimo Cellino's takeover and the circus which followed, but it did not make for a stable infrastructure in which for a club to thrive.
As Neil Redfearn is finding this season, whenever it seems to be going right, a pitfall lies around the corner.