United begin the David Moyes era with a trip to Swansea on the opening day of the new season, but face some of their title rivals very early on.
The clash at the Liberty Stadium is followed by meetings with Chelsea, Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Manchester City in a baptism of fire for Moyes after his appointment as Sir Alex Ferguson's replacement.
"It is a lively start with Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Swansea away in the first five games," Ferdinand told Sky Sports.
"Normally you get a few games to ease yourselves in, but this time we must hit the ground running."
And Ferdinand knows how important a good start will be, especially for the new boss, and challenged his team-mates to be at their best right from the word go.
"We've got a new manager, we are going to be focused, on impressing him and making sure we are ready for the start of the season," he added.
"It is going to be important, we need to get off to a good start and I'm confident we will do."