Premier League champions Chelsea needed two late goals to salvage a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United on Saturday, Brazilians Ramires and Willian coming off the bench to earn Jose Mourinho’s stuttering side a point.

Goals either side of halftime from Ayoze Perez and Georginio Wijnaldum looked set to earn Newcastle a first league victory of the season but they could not resist Chelsea’s late surge.

The draw left the Londoners in 15th place with eight points from seven games and Newcastle second from bottom on three.

Mourinho described his side’s first-half display as “minus one out of 10” after Newcastle had taken the lead in the 41st minute when Perez lashed a bouncing ball in off the post after being given too much time in the box.

Despite almost constant Chelsea pressure after the interval Wijnaldum made it 2-0 with a header on the hour and with striker Diego Costa suspended, there looked to be no way back for the visitors.

Ramires then lashed a thunderbolt into the roof of the net with 11 minutes remaining and Willian saw his inswinging free kick go through a crowd of players and unsighted home goalkeeper Tim Krul.

All-action substitute Ramires almost won it when his point-blank header was palmed away by Krul but that would have been hard on Newcastle who responded to the criticism of their League Cup defeat by Sheffield Wednesday in midweek with a battling display.

Mourinho is still to win a league match at St James’ Park, drawing two and losing three times there in his two spells at Stamford Bridge.

“In the second half we played very well,” the Chelsea manager told Sky Sports.

“Ramires and Willian moved the game on. The midfield was pressing more and we were more dynamic and we had an intensity Newcastle couldn’t cope with.”

Chelsea are struggling to hit the form that saw them dominate last year’s title race and Mourinho is baffled as to the reasons.

“I have to try to understand why my team can play so bad in the first half and so well in the other,” he said.

“We got a point that was not what we wanted but it was not too bad. We began eight points off the top and we ended it eight points off the top.”