Ferguson's Red Devils suffered a shock defeat to Wigan Athletic and were involved in a dramatic 4-4 draw with Everton late in the 2011/12 season when crosstown rivals Manchester City were hot on their heels.
A 1-0 defeat to Roberto Mancini's men in late April set up a grandstand finish which saw United have one hand on the trophy after they had beaten Sunderland on the final day but City's last-gasp 3-2 come-from-behind home victory over QPR saw the 'noisy neighbours' salute on goal difference, shattering Ferguson and his playing group.
The Old Trafford legend told ESPN FC that it was a very tough defeat to take but insisted his men carry themselves in a manner that would do the club proud - even if they had thrown the title away.
"We were champions for 30 seconds," Ferguson said.
"You've got to understand that these are human beings and they are hurting as much as anyone, as much as I am.
"In terms of leading them and bringing our personality into the room, in terms of dealing with it, they have got to represent themselves and the club properly. So I said to them in the dressing room that night: 'There's nothing to be ashamed of; you were fantastic. Walk out that door and tell everyone you're going to win the league next year. That's your job'.
"All the directors were there and it was a devastating moment; it was incredible. You have to say we did throw the league away. Hands up, we all know we're responsible for throwing the league away but, nonetheless, we lost it and you have to deal with that and the players' attitude was good.
"They walked out that dressing room with their blazer and flannels on, they represented the club in the proper way and I think everyone would be proud of them because they acted that way."