Guide To Time Wasting In Football Manager

You might not like it and might even hate it, but watching Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid side time and time again expertly frustrate other teams in the latter stages of the Champions League with their time wasting while defending a one-goal lead away from the Wanda Metropolitano gives me so much joy.

Atleti players in these instances fall over the slightest touch, rolling on the ground and making a meal out of every challenge.

They will also take ages to resume the game from a free kick, or walk exaggeratedly slowly off the pitch, greeting almost everyone on the pitch once they get subbed off.

It is an effective tactic to run down the clock, at the cost of one or two yellow cars. 

Time wasting in football manager

However, it is not always successful as they were punished by Sergio Ramos in the 92nd minute of the UCL final in 2014 after employing the time wasting tactics almost immediately they got a one-goal lead courtesy of Diego Godin

Despite trying its best to mirror real-life tactics, football manager currently does not have all these time wasting complexities that can be incorporated in real life.

This, however, does not hold back the time wasting instruction from being effective in running down the clock or being a catalyst to being punished by the opposition once you employ it too early, giving the onus to them to launch non-relenting attacks on your defence.

Football manager ties time wasting to your team mentality, and on lower mentalities like Cautious or Defensive, you lose the option to ask your time to never engage in time wasting.   

The opposite is also true on higher team mentalities like Very Attacking where you lose the option to ask the team to engage in some time wasting which makes total sense as it would not be logical to ask your team to waste time while you are throwing everything at the opponent trying to get a goal. 

Best Way To Waste Time In FM

Simply sliding the time wasting bar to frequently or whenever possible will not save your team from conceding late in the game.

You have to complement this decision with a change to the tempo your team is playing at, lower the line of engagement, change a few duties that your players are on, and also possibly make a tweak to your team’s passing directness.

If you are on the positive mentality, for instance, and want to protect a one-goal lead from the 70th minute of a tight match.

Depending on the strength of your team, you can change a few players on the attacking duties to support ones and then drop the mentality to balanced or cautious. 

This is also the opportune moment to drop roles like that of the trequartista or enganche which would not be of much use out of possession in favour of hard-working types like the ball winning midfielder.

If your passing style is very direct and with a high tempo, you can also drop them back to much shorter passing and a slightly lower tempo to ensure you have more control of the game and also reduce chances of giving the ball away cheaply asking to be counter attacked.

Once you have done this, your team will have better chances of successfully time wasting rather than just putting the sliding to the maximum with no other change to how your team approaches the final minutes of the game.

However, you still need to be cautious in going too passive and killing your attack, which invites pressure on your team.

Once you have gone too passive in the latter stages of the game by subbing out all your attacking players and replacing them with defensive midfielders and central defenders, you effectively hand over the initiative to your opposition who will happily attack your team with more players armed with the knowledge that you carry no threat of adding to your tally on the counter attack.

Your defenders will clear the ball to no one in particular, and the subsequent attack will follow soon enough. 

If you normally concede soon after you ask your team to waste time, your team being too passive is likely the cause of your misfortunes.

Finally, keep in mind that despite making all the necessary changes and wasting time appropriately, your defence might still get breached, especially if your team is not particularly strong, or you are facing the likes of PSG and Real Madrid.

Therefore, only waste time in football manager when you need to, say in a tricky cup match that you were not expecting to win, and you find yourself with a two-goal lead with only ten or fifteen minutes to go.

For comparison purposes, I would only ask my team to frequently waste time from around the 65th minute, then bump it up to whenever possible at around the 80th-minute mark and hope they see the game out without conceding a goal, or worse, two of them.