The England international was speaking after United lost to Bayern Munich on penalties in the final of the Audi Cup at the Allianz Arena, after the match itself had ended in a goalless draw.
United have had something of a gruelling pre-season so far with their tour of Asia followed by games against Boca Juniors and Bayern in quick succession in Germany.
Ferdinand believes Sir Alex Ferguson is now ironing out the cracks in his side before the Premier League kicks off again in two weeks' time. United also face Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley on August 9.
"I think we showed glimpses of improvement,'' he said. "I think the Asia tour has been a very good workout for us physically and today and yesterday were a step up in class in opposition.
"Physically, we are on the road to getting where we want to be for the beginning of the season.
"I think Asia was a long tour for us physically. We were very tired after that.
"We now get a couple of days off and then we get back to training and working hard, but we are on the right road.''
Ferdinand admitted their system will change following the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo.
"I think that's inevitable,'' he said. "When you lose any players, your team plays differently no matter who you lose.
"We lost two very good players in Cristiano and Carlos, but Manchester United is a club that moves on and has remained a successful side.
"We have done that in recent years when we lost players of the ilk of David Beckham and Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Veron and players like that.
"People thought we would fall by the wayside but it didn't happen.''