Chelsea’s positive run of Premier League results came to a brutal end at St James’ Park.

Chelsea were humbled by Newcastle United on Saturday to leave Raheem Sterling scratching his head after a respectable individual performance. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have lost more Premier League matches than they’ve won this season, much to the frustration of his expensively-assembled squad.

Sterling scored a superb free-kick on Tyneside to cancel out Alexander Isak’s opener and level up the scores going into half-time. But Jamaal Lascelles, Joelinton and Anthony Gordon all netted after the break to seal an emphatic 4-1 victory for the Magpies.

Reece James was sent off to crown a truly miserable afternoon for Pochettino’s side, and the Chelsea boss wasn’t alone in struggling to stomach the result.

After the final whistle; cameras showed Sterling, by far Chelsea’s best player on the day, sat stunned and alone while his team-mates made their way back to the dressing room.

After a slow start under Pochettino, the Blues finally looked to have gathered some momentum before the international break. Wins over Brighton, Fulham, Burnley and Tottenham, as well as draws with Arsenal and Manchester City, convinced many supporters that the team had reached a turning point.

But the heavy defeat to Newcastle will send them straight back to the drawing board before a tough double-header against Brighton and Manchester United over the next two weeks.

Sterling ended a trophy-laden spell with Manchester City to sign for Chelsea last summer in the hope of becoming the main man at Stamford Bridge. While the 28-year-old is certainly one of Pochettino’s most dependable performers, the Blues’ collective fortunes continue to fall wildly below expectations.

“It was our worst game of the season,” said Pochettino after the final whistle. “It was tough to be in the stands. We cannot complain about the result, we did not read the game from the beginning. We did not play how we should play, we showed a lack of intensity and energy.

“Even after we scored, at 1-1, it was a chance for us to force them to play deep, but it was so easy for Newcastle. That is why I am so upset with the performance.

“It’s a young team, they need this type of situation to realise. We’ll go to the hotel, then train early tomorrow, no time off. We can’t blame players, it’s the team together. We need to understand the level we need to compete, and learn.”

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