Although Valencia had plenty of possession, they were rarely able to break through the United rearguard and Edwin van der Sar made only one save of note.
Much of that was due to the presence of Ferdinand alongside skipper Nemanja Vidic for the first time this season.
"Rio needed a game like that," said Ferguson. "He has the experience, which was vital and the ability to keep the ball, which is important.
"His experienced helped us. There is no question about that.
"For his first real game in a long time we are very pleased with that."