One of the most frustrating situations on Football Manager is conceding a goal in the final ten minutes of the game, especially when you are one goal up and trying your best to defend the lead. A simple change of tactics could mean a world of difference between a win or a loss during the final moments of the game.
When you are up by a single goal, it is not important on how you play, but it is important to secure the result. In Football Manager this can be easily done by altering your tactics and choosing some 'special' Team & Player Instructions. In this Guide we will try top help you setting up your tactics and have your team waste time like your were José Mourinho or Diego Simeone.
First thing you will have to do is having a look at your tactics. Almost every player on FM likes to have an attacking based formation. A 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 are very common tactics. By altering your tactics during the final 20 minutes of the game, you can build some extra strength on the midfielder and some extra support for your defense.
The thing is; when you are up by one goal, you can expect your opponent to put up the pressure. That means they will send more players forward to help their attack. Therefore it is advised that you get some extra men at the back, whilst you keep luring for a quick break and counter. Keep a single forward up front. Preferably a player that is Strong but also quite fast. That way he can hold the ball, but also pop-up behind the opponents defensive line.
Player Roles & Duties
Next thing you do is check the Player Roles. Here the Duties are what is most important when defending a small lead. Ideally you pick a tactic that has 4 Attacking Duties, 3-4 Support Duties and 3 - 4 on a Defend Duty. When defending a small lead, you will have to alter this. The only Attacking minded player you would want to keep is your Lone Striker up front. He has to keep pressing the backline, making sure the defense has to keep watching him, minimizing the risk. The other 9 field players will either have support duty (mostly players on the flanks) or a defensive duty (All your defenders and at least two midfielders)
Then you will alter your Team Instructions. The key in Wasting Time properly is not giving away too much space and not closing down (otherwise you will be out of position) too much. You will have to create a castle in front of the goal and do not let the opponent get through the wall. Here is an example of Team Instructions when you want to waste time:
Your goal is to keep the ball when you have possession. If you don't have the ball, it will be important not to put pressure and keep your positions on the pitch, making sure your Team Shape will stay in tact.
When altering your player instructions, it is important to start at the goalkeeper. He is probably going to see a lot of the ball, so it is important that you instruct him well enough. On the screen below you will see some instructions for a Time Wasting Goalkeeper
First thing you will have to do is making sure he will Slow the Pace down if he receives the ball. Then when he has the ball, you instruct him to Take Long Kicks. His distribution will be set Over the Opposition Defense. There your lone striker will be luring for a free ball.
Another position that will have to alter is your Lone Striker up front. This are some good Instructions to give your Striker:
I love to see my striker play as a Complete Forward. That way he is able to put on the pressure, whilst he puts pressure on the back line luring for that open space. He will look for that space moving into channels and when he receives the ball, he will try to hold it.
A great way to nick some time from your opponent is making substitutions. When you make substitutions you will force the game to stop and that will break the rhythm of your opponents. If you have a small lead, try to keep the first eleven on the pitch until the 75th - 80th minute. If your team is put under pressure at that mark, you can start subbing players in, breaking the flow of the game. A con for subbing in players is the extra time a referee will add after the 90 minutes have passed.
* It is advised that you do the 3 subs separately. If you sub out on player at a time, you will be able to waste more time. Do not ever sub in three players at a time.