Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney were on target in the second half to seal a thoroughly deserved win for United in Germany - a result that leaves them on the brink of another European Cup final appearance against either Barcelona or Real Madrid at Wembley.
Ferguson was delighted with his side's performance as they eventually got the better of Schalke's outstanding goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to claim a healthy first-leg advantage before next week's clash at Old Trafford.
The Scot believes it was one of their finest displays in Europe since he has been in charge.
"Juventus in 1999 will always be on the list of great performances away from home in Europe but this certainly ranks as one of them," Ferguson said.
"The players have confidence and trust in each other and they are peaking."
He added: "Overall I was delighted. It was a top performance. We have had some fantastic performances in Europe during my time and this was right up there.
"The concentration issue is important away from home in Europe. It is a different tempo at times and requires really good concentration. Credit to the players - they have shown that throughout the campaign.
"Over the past two or three years we have got a way of playing in Europe away from home. It requires some experience of course and the most important thing is to have confidence in possession of the ball."