Roberto Mancini was still playing the caution card after the Blues swapped places with beaten neighbours United at the top of the Premier League.
Vincent Kompany’s header in the shadow of half-time was enough to settle a game in which City made all the chances.
It means the Blues lead the table on goal-difference and are now favourites to win the title with the bookmakers if not their own manager.
“United are favourites,” maintained the City chief after the game. “They have easier games. Not because Swansea and Sunderland are bad teams but because we have Newcastle who are fighting for Champions League and QPR who are trying to avoid relegation.”
It is important that we are top now but it is more important that we are top at the end of May 13
“This result changes nothing; we still have to win the last two games. Of course I am happy. I am most happy for the supporters who were magnificent but it is still an option that United win the league.
"I think we deserved to win this game. We scored. We played well and had the chance to score the second goal. I don't think that they had the chance to score.
“I think United set up for a draw because they knew if they got a draw then they would win the league. They defended well and it was not easy for us to find a solution.
Just because we beat United twice it does not mean we deserve to be champions. The team that has the most points at the end of the season deserves to be champions.
Tempers flared briefly in the second half when the two managers were involved in a touchline spat.
"I can understand, because at that moment the tension is high," reflected Mancini. “I was speaking with the fourth official. We exchanged words but that is it. It is over. It is not a problem for me.”
In terms of the game Ferguson took an opposing view to that expressed by Mancini.
"They're in the driving seat now with only two games of football left. It's not over, particularly as we've got the same number of points, but an eight-goal advantage is a significant advantage for them,” he noted.
"I think we look at last Saturday as the worst [setback], in the Everton game. We should never have thrown that away."