Nemanja Vidic has paid tribute to the important role Michael Carrick plays for Manchester United, while he is taking nothing for granted ahead of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Schalke.
Carrick has been criticised for some of his performances this season and was at fault for Yaya Toure's goal as United crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Manchester City last week.
However, Carrick was also one of the major influences behind United's Champions League quarter-final triumph over Chelsea.
And as Darren Fletcher will miss Tuesday's semi-final first-leg against Schalke, Vidic believes the former Tottenham midfielder will be a key man.
"I have always said that Michael Carrick is an important player for us," said the United skipper.
"He has such a big role for the team. He is that balance between the defence and midfield and the midfield and forwards.
"Over the years he has done that dirty job well. Maybe it is not a great role for the fans and media but we know how important he is for us."
United are expected to progress past Schalke to set up a Champions League final against either Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Schalke are the rank outsiders of the three teams but Vidic insists United will pay them the respect they deserve after thrashing Inter Milan in the previous round.
"We are pleased to be where we are," said the Serbian.
"I know we are the favourites but that doesn't mean anything.
"Schalke scored five goals away from home against Inter. You have to respect that. Any team you play at this stage of the competition is not going to be easy."