Opinions about defensive tactics are very much split among football fans, but there is no denying the fact that these tactics can be extremely effective in specific scenarios.

One such scenario is if you’re a small team that has just gained promotion to the top flight in your FC 24 Career Mode. You don’t have enough quality players to do well in the league, and you have to find a way to survive.

This “Park the Bus” defensive tactic for FC 24 will serve you well against attacking and possession-based tactics, and you can expect to grab a few wins along the way if you know what you’re doing!


One thing that you need in any team that will focus on defensive tactics is several physical and aggressive players.

Apart from that, a couple of quick wingers that can whip a good cross in should be nice, and you can’t go wrong with a big man up front either.

For my tests, I used the Newcastle squad against several big teams with Legendary AI difficulty.


Everyone knows that the “rattiest” defensive formations in this game are the 5-back formations. There are a couple of new 5-back formations in FC 24, but the 5-4-1 still seems to be the most effective option for defensive tactics so we’re going with that.


Defense and Offense tactics in this section impact how the players defend and attack as a unit. It is the first step of adjusting the AI to suit the tactics that we’re trying to replicate before we go into deeper customization with player instructions.


The “Drop Back” defensive style chosen for this tactic is significantly more reactive than proactive, but it is the best way to reduce the chances of getting defenders that are not directly under your control dragged out of position.

It ensures that the players stay compact as much as possible in the low block that we’re trying to create with the 29 depth and 29 width.

To keep this defensive structure, try as much as you can not to drag defenders out of position when you’re controlling them as well. Use your midfielders to track back and follow the player in possession, and only switch to defenders when you need to.


This is a defense-first tactic, but you can maximize any half-chances that come your way with these offense tactics.

Long Ball build-up play helps to make sure that your players move into the right positions to start a quick counter-attack with a long ball when your opponent loses possession with few numbers at the back.

The chances of this happening at least once or twice in a game are fairly high because teams will have to pour players forward to try and break down your defensive overload. So, these tactics can offer a good chance for a smash-and-grab lone goal win.

I set the width to 75 because we need the wide players to spread out to offer more long-ball options and further stretch out the opponent’s defense. If you manage to get the ball to a player on the flank, your big man upfront could be in a good position to get on the end of a cross.

I’ve only set players in the box to 4 because we need the defensive shape to be reasonably intact even during occasional attacks. You could even reduce it further to 3.

Player Instructions

These player instructions will further adjust the defensive and attacking AI of the players on an individual level.


Leave all instructions on default.


Leave all instructions on default.


Set attacking runs to “Stay Back While Attacking” to keep that low block on the last defensive line. Leave other instructions as is.

Right Central Midfielder

You should have one defense-minded midfielder and one balanced midfielder, so the instructions for this position can be swapped for the RCM’s instructions depending on the type of player you have in each position.

This defense-minded midfielder should have attacking runs set to “Stay Back” and defensive position set to “Cover Center”.

Left Central Midfielder

This balanced midfielder should have the defensive position instruction set to “Cover Center”. Leave other instructions as is.

It would be helpful to have a player with a Relentless playstyle and high/high work rates here.

Wide Midfielders

For both wide midfielders/wingers, you want to set instructions to “Come Back on Defence”, “Stay Wide”, and “Get Into Box for Cross”.

This selection of instructions will ensure that they drop back into the low block of the second defensive line alongside the central midfielders, but they will also hold width and get forward into the box during quick counterattacks.

It would be helpful to have players with the Rapid and Quick-Step playstyles in these positions. The Whipped Cross is a great option too, considering how effective crosses seem to be in this game.

The Relentless playstyle is not as important here, but the players should have good numbers for stamina. You should also try to use players that have medium or high defensive work rates.


For the striker, set instructions for support runs to “Stay Central” and attacking runs to “Target Player”.

As I said, a big man would be best for this role, but it should be one with a decent amount of pace. Isak at Newcastle is one of the better young strikers in the game who fits this description to a good extent, so he’s an option if you’re testing out this tactic in Career Mode.

We need this player to stay central because their skillset would be wasted if dragged out to the flanks, and the “Target Player” instruction gets them playing with back to goal more often, acting as a focal point to receive long balls and crosses.

If you’re looking to play a more stylish brand of football, check out our guides to Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta’s tactics for FC 24.