The Manchester United manager, who retires after 26 years of unprecedented success at Old Trafford, explained how important it was to him to leave his post with the club back on top of the pile.
Speaking on stage at the club's end of season awards ceremony, Ferguson told MUTV: "That was an issue when (wife) Cathy and I chatted about this at Christmas. At that point we had a five-point lead and I thought we had a great chance. I said 'I really need to go out a winner. We need to win something'. After the disappointment of last season we couldn't take a second one. I was hopeful we'd win it and we did."
He added: "We had a terrific points lead. The problem is when you have a lead and you start to lose a point. When we lost to City in the Monday night game you start to think 'Christ, you can't throw this away'."
That need to end on a high note extends to the final game of the Ferguson era at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday too. The silverware may have been sewn up already, but Ferguson has no interest in signing off with defeat.
"We need to win the game on Sunday," he added. "We won the last home game (against Swansea) and I don't want to lose my last game, that's for sure."
Ferguson was instrumental in the decision to appoint Everton manager David Moyes as his successor and he explained why he felt his fellow Scot was the man for the job.
United may have known plenty of success in recent seasons, but Ferguson feels the ability to deal with adversity could be crucial for Moyes.
"What I know of David is he's hard working, there's an integrity about him, he's got a work ethic about him and he's a serious football man," Ferguson said. "These are qualities he's going to need. If you look at what he's done at Everton for instance.
"Eleven years without real financial backing, but he persevered and created some decent teams in the last few years."