Rio Ferdinand has offered his support to centre-half partner Jonny Evans, with some critics continuing to question the Northern Ireland international.
Manchester United have had to handle more than their fair share of defensive injuries this season, with the loss of club captain Nemanja Vidic to a long-term knee problem undoubtedly the biggest blow.
The likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have been drafted in to provide cover both now and in the future, but they too have suffered untimely knocks.
Sir Alex Ferguson has shown considerable faith in Evans throughout the campaign, with the 24-year-old having started more matches at the heart of United's defence than anyone but Ferdinand - who has featured in only one game more.
His performances have not always drawn widespread acclaim, but no-one inside the Old Trafford camp was surprised to see him put in a commanding display in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Saturday.
"Jonny was fantastic," said Ferdinand.
"A lot of the stuff that has been said about Jonny is way off the mark.
"He is appreciated by everyone in the squad."
While Evans and Ferdinand helped to keep things tight at the back on derby day, it was Wayne Rooney who stole the show as he netted a match-winning brace.
"Wayne is a Liverpool lad and an Evertonian," said Ferdinand.
"To score against not only our rivals but those of his boyhood team, it must have gone down well for him."