The beast of Burnley turns into giant-killer

Unsung and underrated, Jensen intends to keep thwarting the top flight's finest

He is a prophet without honour in his own country of Denmark, but in Burnley Brian "Beast" Jensen is a folk hero, who even has a sausage named after him (apparently a sign of great affection). "Beeeeeeast" they bellow after the strapping goalkeeper's every save, the most notable of which this season have tipped Chelsea and Arsenal out of the Carling Cup. Tottenham should have gone the same way too, but with the Championship side two minutes from a place in the Wembley final, Roman Pavlyuchenko and then Jermain Defoe rescued them.

Now it is the FA Cup, and Arsenal again, though a rather different team to the one Jensen defied during a 2-0 victory at Turf Moor in the December quarter-final. "They will remember what happened last time, but it is probably going to be 10 different players against us on Sunday," he said. "They will have a bit of respect for us, but I'm sure they will also be thinking of getting some revenge for what happened at Turf Moor. They won't want it to happen again. They are at home too, but if they give us a little bit of respect because of the last game, then we will have done our job."

The one outfield player he expects to be up against again is his countryman Nicklas Bendtner, the victim of half of Jensen's six saves when Arsenal players were one-on-one against him in the extraordinary first game. Yet while Bendtner is an established Danish international revered in his homeland, Jensen is comparatively unknown there. Having been one of those substitute goalkeepers who spend far more time sitting watching than actually playing, he appeared only four times during six frustrating seasons in Denmark and one in Holland before joining West Bromwich Albion in 2000.

"I have never been a big star back in Denmark," he admitted. "The game we have been playing here for the last couple of months has raised my profile back home but I have not really played any football there, so people don't really know who I am. I am more well-known in Holland and England than I am in Denmark.

"I would love to go back home when I leave England and play there for a couple of years, just to show people what I am capable of. People in Denmark wouldn't recognise me, but they hear the name 'The Beast' back home and it would be nice to show them why I have played over 300 games in the Championship."

At Albion he was in and out of the team, playing fewer than 50 games in three years. Since joining Burnley he has had to see off various other contenders for the jersey, as well as being dropped at the start of this season. "I'm used to it by now. It happens every year. They don't just bring in a new goalie, they bring in an international [Diego Penny from Peru], so it's another kick in the teeth; you just feel, 'Here we go again'. You think it's going to be a hassle to get back into the team, but you just work hard and do your stuff. I always had the philosophy that hard work pays off in the end, and so far that has proven to be the case."

Most of his previous five seasons at the club were spent at the wrong end of the Championship table. Now, under the impressive Owen Coyle, Burnley stand within a point of the play-off places, Jensen giving the former St Johnstone manager much of the credit. "He has been absolutely smashing since he came here to Burnley. At the time, we were probably a bit down and things weren't going great for us, but he had his philosophy about how he wanted us to play. He wanted us to be confident and positive in what we do and we adapted to it."

Now supporters are dreaming again of the days when Burnley were regularly in the top six of the top division: champions in 1960, and therefore European Cup competitors, and runners-up in both the League and FA Cup in 1962. There was a top-six finish again as late as 1974, but only 13 years later they had to win their final match of the season, against Leyton Orient, to avoid relegation to the Conference; on a day of stomach-knotting tension in front of almost 16,000 they did, 2-1, and Lincoln went down instead.

The road back to respectability has been a slow one, but Burnley have made it, and this season's exploits in two cup competitions have improved their profile hugely. "We will be massive underdogs again," Jensen acknowledged. "But we know it's going to be completely different this time, probably similar to playing at Chelsea, because we are away. Arsenal have a great record down there, and if we sit back they will just pass it around us.

"It is going to be hard," Jensen concluded. "We were a little bit lucky on the day last time. Kev McDonald scored two great goals and I had some luck in goal. Everything went our way that day, and we need the same to happen on Sunday."

Today's games

Arsenal v Burnley (1.30, Setanta Sports 1)

A tricky team selection for Arsène Wenger, who will want a stronger line-up than the Young Ones who went out of the Carling Cup to Burnley, but also needs to rest players before Wednesday's Champions' League tie in Rome. Owen Coyle will put out his best team and tell them to go for it.

Everton v Middlesbrough (4.0, Setanta Sports 1)

Much of the confidence that Boro derived from successive 2-0 wins over West Ham and Liverpool will have been drained by that 4-0 drubbing at Tottenham in midweek. Home advantage gives Everton a great chance of a first major semi-final since 1995.

Steve Tongue

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players