The 26-year-old, in what was a frustrating first half against Slaven Bilic’s side, kept the home side at bay with an acrobatic stop to deny Manuel Lanzini’s long-range drive.
He then denied Michail Antonio, who had a superb one-on-one opportunity with the score still at 0-0, in the second half right before Man United went ahead through Juan Mata.
Carrick, speaking after the game, was quick to heap praise on the Spaniard.
“It was a top save from David,” he said.
“We know how good he is and he’s been making saves like that for years. It was a very big moment in the game and thankfully Juan went down the other end and bagged that goal for us to turn things in our favour.
“Early on in the season, things like that weren’t going our way but now we are playing well and you make your own luck. When you’re on the kind of run we are on, it makes a difference.”
Jose Mourinho went straight to De Gea at the full-time whistle, clearly aware of how important his save from Antonio was in the context of the entire game.
The stop had a galvanising effect on the whole United side; the effect it had on West Ham, however, was perhaps more important.
There was a notable change of body language after De Gea’s save, almost as if the home side knew that, with ten men against a dominant United side, they would only receive one moment to grab the initiative. But De Gea was having none of it and United, keen to capitalise on Antonio’s failure to convert a rare chance, quickly went up the other end and punished Slaven Bilic’s men.