SUNDERLAND boss Martin O'Neill has claimed that winger James McClean will have to deal with the abuse and death threats that he has received after refusing to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt last week.
The 23-year-old came in for criticism after opting not to sport a poppy on his shirt during the Black Cats' 2-1 defeat at Everton last weekend.
McClean was introduced by O'Neill as a second-half substitute in yesterday's 3-1 win at Fulham and received a mixed response from the travelling Sunderland supporters.
Following the victory O'Neill backed McClean to cope with a few jeers and revealed the Republic of Ireland international has also received death threats.
"James will deal with it (the booing). I think it is to do with the issue last week, it's a free choice in this world," he said.
"James has lived with a lot of things - he's getting death threats too now so that doesn't help."
It is understood that police are investigating the threats which were directed towards McClean on Twitter, although the player no longer uses the social networking site.
Meanwhile, O'Neill wants to see his players take confidence from their first away win of the Premier League season at Fulham.
Second-half goals from Steven Fletcher, Carlos Cuellar and Stephane Sessegnon gave the Black Cats their first win since September and O'Neill wants the new-found momentum to roll into next weekend's game against high-flying West Brom.
"It's very pleasing to get the win away from home - I would have taken the win in any shape or form, but it was a good win today and we scored some good goals," he said.
"The players are looking forward to the next couple of games at home. It's always a good atmosphere at the Stadium of Light. Winning today is a boost of confidence ahead of a very important game next week."
The win moved Sunderland up to 15th in the table but stopped Fulham - who had equalised through Mladen Petric - moving ahead of the likes of Tottenham and West Ham into seventh.