The 22-year-old, who joined the Red Devils in 2008, has established himself as the club's main right-back this season.
Having developed his game in recent years, Rafael believes that he is now reaping the benefits.
"I do think they look at me differently now. The way I play for United has changed a little bit and I have scored some goals as well," he told reporters.
"But mature is the word. I always want the ball. Now I read the game more and know what the opposing player is going to do."
Rafael has scored four goals from 99 appearances for United.