Chris Hargreaves says he did not know how tough the financial problems at Torquay were when he became manager.
Bottom-of-the-table United are facing relegation from the Football League.
Chairman Thea Bristow, the widow of lottery-winning supporter Paul Bristow, continues to back the club, but has been looking for new investment since the start of the season.
"I didn't know the constraints of the finances were as bad as they were until I took the job," Hargreaves said.
"And I certainly didn't know how bad the training ground was," he told BBC South West.
"Those two things have had a massive factor on where we are still, as well as the previous reign."
Hargreaves became Torquay boss after Alan Knill, now number two at fellow strugglers Northampton Town, was sacked on 2 January.
"I accept my responsibility as a manager, of course I do, but we were in a mess and that's a fact," said Hargreaves.
"We've won six games now, that's one more than we had done in the previous 26 games."
The 41-year-old is hoping he will be given the chance to continue his job, irrespective of Torquay's eventual fate this season.
"I need to create a legacy and that's got to be to produce good young footballers, who desperately don't want to lose and separately want to win," he added.
"We need to have that running through this club like a stick of rock, people who care about the area and care about the club, end of story.
"That's got to happen and that will happen as long as I'm at the club. My job is to turn this club around and I'm determined to do it."