Jonny Evans says he felt guilty after the 6-1 loss to Manchester City but cannot accept total responsibility for the capitulation.
Manchester United were demolished by their local rivals in last month's derby and Evans' sending-off at the start of the second half was a clear turning point.
City had only been leading 1-0 before Evans was shown a red card for clumsily fouling Mario Balotelli, and he does not think he can be blamed for everything that happened afterwards.
"When you go down to 10 men you don't expect to concede five goals," Evans said. "I felt guilty for the fans because obviously it is not nice.
"I am a Manchester United fan myself. I know the hurt that was felt by the people who follow United around everywhere."
Although Evans insists he was not worried Ferguson might make him the scapegoat, there must have been a nagging fear in his mind once he returned from his automatic one-match suspension.
As it turned out, Rio Ferdinand made way for the return of Nemanja Vidic at Everton last weekend, Evans then retaining his place for the midweek UEFA Champions League win over Otelul Galati, when United kept a third successive clean sheet.
"It was nice the manager stuck with me, although one red card doesn't make you a bad player all of a sudden," Evans added.
"I didn't feel I would be used as a scapegoat. I knew the manager would make an honest decision.
"I am not the type of player who would sulk about it if I got dropped. He is the greatest British manager of all time. Whatever decision he takes, I will happily accept it."
Evans cannot afford to rest on his laurels, though, and he is hoping to be selected for Saturday's clash with Sunderland after spending time on loan at the Stadium of Light earlier in his career.
"I have a lot of fond memories of my time up there and it won't be easy," Evans said. "Sunderland have had a slow start to the season but Steve Bruce has brought a lot of new players in and it has taken them a while to gel.
"I am sure they will put on a big performance because Steve's teams always seem to do well."
The overriding aim for United is to claim another three points to maintain some kind of pressure on Manchester City, who have failed to win just once so far this term.
"We have played quite a lot of the big teams around us and I don't think City have really had that," Evans said.
"They could go on and win all those games, you don't know. We just have to keep our own run going and hope they slip up."