The Spaniard produced a host of top quality saves at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night which, Carrick believes, helped keep the Reds in the game. And following Danny Welbeck's crucial away goal, Sir Alex's men now hold a minor advantage ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford on 5 March.
"David's performance just showed what he is all about," Carrick told PA Sport. "There is no bigger pressure cooker really than this stage of the Champions League and coming to a place like this. Coming back home [to Spain] as well, there was an extra spotlight on him. Some of his saves kept us in the game at times.
"It is never nice when people question you but that is natural at a club like this. You are always getting questioned and criticised," added Carrick, when asked about the flak De Gea has received this season, mainly within the media. "That is just how it is. You have to deal with it.
"He is a top keeper and he is only going to get better. To play at this club at such a young age and have so much on your shoulders and to then produce a performance like that [against Madrid] just showed what he is all about."