Ferdinand admitted City's cautious policy had frustrated United and said Sir Alex Ferguson would never allow his players to play in such a negative way in front of their own fans at Old Trafford.
"With City being at home, we expected them to come out and want to play against us," Ferdinand told the Mirror. "But they just sat there and waited for us to come to them.
"Our manager wouldn't allow us to play that way. That's why he's achieved what he has. He wouldn't allow us to play at home and not attack and express ourselves.
"That's what the boss always says to us before every game: 'go out there, express yourselves and enjoy playing football', which is what we always try to do.
"Everyone's got their own style. Roberto Mancini is obviously Italian and has got his own way of thinking. If he thinks that's the way he's going to be successful at City then good for him.
"I can only speak as a United player and we would definitely never go out at Old Trafford and play defensively like that. It just doesn't happen. City have got flair players like David Silva, Adam Johnson and Carlos Tevez, so it was surprising they played the way they did.
"But The game against City was probably our most solid, collective performance of the season. we controlled the game, defended well and passed the ball well in a pressurised situation away from home."