City manager Roberto Mancini had claimed that United were on par with his side, a point seemingly vindicated in the club's 2-1 away win at Old Trafford a fortnight ago. 

But fresh from securing United a 20th league title following a 3-0 rout of Aston Villa on Monday, Ferguson hit back at his Italian counterpart, arguing United's consistency across the season demonstrates a gulf between the teams.

"In the games between the two sides there has been nothing in it," Ferguson said. 

"But [in] the rest of them we are far better. We're a far better team than Manchester City at beating other teams and that's not recognised by him [Mancini]. 

"When the two teams meet, there's nothing in it and I agree with him in that respect. But you expect that in a derby game. 

"Derby games bring two teams to a level, it doesn't matter what the levels are, it always brings them together." 

Despite celebrations for United's latest triumph just starting, Ferguson has already turned his attention to an assault on a 21st league crown for the club.

And the Scot – who has led Manchester United to 14 of those successes - feels United's younger crop have shown the mettle to assume responsibility for a title charge next term.

"I think we have a nucleus of players that are young enough [to win the league again]," he said. 

"I expect them to improve, there is an expectation of that. We're not asking too much of the younger players to improve and I think they will.

"Winning the league is important for them, [the young players]. [Phil] Jones hasn't won the league until now, [David] De Gea [has not], neither has Robin Van Persie.

"I think it's important for them to win a title and know what it feels like and also what the challenge is about. It's not easy to win the league in our country."

United still have plenty to play for this campaign, however, as on 84 points and with four matches to play they can eclipse Chelsea's all-time Premier League record of 95 points.