Carlo Ancelotti: Pepe and Sergio Ramos fit to play for Real Madrid

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti looks likely to spring no surprises in his team selection for Sunday's clasico against Barcelona at the Bernabeu, despite joking that he could rethink his whole lineup.

Isco is set to continue in a deep midfield role with Gareth Bale sidelined by a muscle injury, while centre-halves Sergio Ramos and Pepe have recovered from fitness problems and trained on Friday.

Ancelotti confirmed in a radio interview on Thursday that Dani Carvajal would return at right-back.

The Madrid coach, in relaxed form at his prematch news conference on Friday, recalled that playing Ramos in midfield in a clasico last season had not gone too well, but pretended he was having second thoughts about his XI.

"I would like to spring a surprise for the game -- I did it last year and it did not go so well, but surprises have worked for me before," he said. "I like to think a lot before such big games. Maybe it was a mistake to name my team so early -- I have other ideas now. Or maybe I am joking...

"Pepe is fine, as is Sergio Ramos -- both are fully recovered. I believe they will play."

Madrid approach the match in superb form, with the most recent of their eight straight wins in all competitions a 3-0 victory at Liverpool in the Champions League.

"We are coming in well, but all games against Barcelona are very difficult," Ancelotti said. "I have confidence, as always, in my team for this game. From the start of the season, the team has improved a lot recently."

The Italian said he believed a lot of that improvement was down to his attacking players increasing their workload to help out in defence when needed.

"We understood after the defeats [to Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid] what was going wrong," he explained. "We have managed to find more balance in the team -- the team works together, battling, sacrificing themselves.

"The players have understood how to put their quality at the service of the team. That is the most important thing."

He said that meant Madrid would not have a special plan to try and nullify Lionel Messi, explaining: "It is not just about one player. We need to play in two lines when defending, and not leave space between them."

And he warned that Barcelona, now coached by Luis Enrique, were "more motivated this season," adding: "They still have the same idea of football, although play a bit more direct in attack, with very solid defence."

Madrid's defenders will also face Luis Suarez, with the 80 million-euro summer signing from Liverpool finally able to make his debut after the end of his four-month ban for biting at the World Cup.

"Naturally I have a lot of respect for Suarez's quality," Ancelotti added. "But it does not change our idea for how we want to play."

Ancelotti also addressed Madrid's unhappiness, raised by Cristiano Ronaldo, that Saturday evening's game was coming so soon after the win at Liverpool, giving them 24 hours less to prepare for the clasico than Barcelona.

"I do not know if we can recover fully after the travel," he said. "We do not understand, as Cristiano [Ronaldo] said, why the clasico is played at 6pm. It could be at 9pm.

"But I think we will recover well, as we are in good shape physically, so we can recover more quickly from games."