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Tactical guides FM20

Wasting time & parking the bus

Lazy Nov 9, 2020 Last modified: 24 Nov 16,572 views

This guide will teach you how to waste time and park the bus when you need to get a result.

One of the most frustrating situations in Football Manager is conceding a goal in the final moments of the game. Especially when you are a single goal up and trying your best to defend that lead. In this article we will try to explain that a simple change of tactics could mean the difference between winning and losing. This article will help you to create the perfect wasting time- tactic in Football Manager.


This is absolutely vital if you want to battle your opponents during the final moments of a game. You should always use the widget that shows your opponents formation. That way you’ll instantly see when your opponent decides to go all gung-ho on you.


Then look at your own formation. Most players like to have an attacking based formation. A 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 are very common, while formations with 3 defenders are gaining popularity. By altering your formation, you can add manpower to your midfield or extra support for your defense. 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 and concentrate on player duties. Normally when you play a match, you try to find balance between the different duties. 4 Attacking Duties, 3-4 Support Duties and 3 – 4 on a Defend Duty is often standard.

When you are defending a small lead, you’ll have to alter this. The only player that needs an attacking duty is your lone striker. That way you will make sure he stays  up front. He also has to keep pressing the back line, making sure the defense needs to keep watching him all the time.

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).

Team Instructions

Then you will alter your team instructions. The key to waste time properly is not giving away too much space and not closing down (otherwise your players will be out of position) too much. You’ll have to park a bus in front of goal and do not let the opponent get through. 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 too much pressure to keep your positions on the pitch. This will make sure your Team Shape will stays in tact.

Player instructions

When altering your player instructions, it’s important to start at the goalkeeper. He is probably going to see a lot of the ball, so it’s important that you instruct him well enough. On the screen below you will see some instructions for a goalkeeper who will waste as much time as possible.

You would want your goalkeeper to slow down the pace of the game as soon as he receives the ball. When he has the ball and wasted some time, instruct him to take long kicks. Set his distribution to: Over opposition Defense. Because your opponent will play with a higher defensive line, there will be much space to exploit.

Another position that will have to alter is your lone striker up front. These are some good instructions to give your striker:

I love to see my striker play as a complete forward with this tactic.  In this role he will be instructed to put some pressure on the defense, while he lures on the back line for space. You should also instruct him to hold onto the ball to waste some extra time.


One of the easiest ways to waste time is by making substitutions. This will force the game to stop, breaking the rhythm of your opponent. When you have a small lead, try to keep your players on the pitch until the final 15 minutes of the game. That way you not only break the rhythm, but also bring on fresh players who can work their socks off.

You should not sub three players at the same time, but bring them on separately. This will force the game to be stopped more frequently, giving your players the chance to catch their breaths and get organized again. For more on substitutions in Football Manager, have a look at our special guide.

A con for subbing in players is the extra time a referee will add after the 90 minutes have passed.

To Close

After reading this article, you will be able to defend a small lead more easily. Off course it will not rule out late goals 100%, but by applying these easy tips, you will lower the chances drastically. Just remember to keep watching your opponent, that way you can react in time.


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