Manager John Coleman says Rochdale must significantly improve results quickly, or risk not being part of the battle to win promotion from League Two.
Dale are 16th in the table after losing 1-0 at home to Burton on Saturday.
"It's a horrible start," Coleman told BBC Radio Manchester. "Five points from five games is a horrible start.
"If you carry on like that and it goes on to 15 games, you're out of the equation. We've got to put it right and we've got to put it right quick."
"We owe it to ourselves [to improve results] but, more importantly, we owe it to our fans," continued Coleman.
"They've had a torrid 12 months and they don't deserve what they're putting up with. They're being taken from one extreme to the other.
"We've played some great football at times this season and we've played some abject stuff as well, most notably at Torquay, and then against Burton."