Simon Grayson has admitted Sunderland's budget is 'way short' of some of their Championship rivals.
And the Black Cats boss says the club has been in a 'dark place' and 'mismanaged' over many years.
Grayson was appointed manager this summer after David Moyes resigned following Sunderland's relegation from the Premier League.
The fall from the top flight, coupled with the club being around £110million in debt, has meant a limited transfer budget for the new boss as he looks to rebuild the squad.
So far, Grayson has brought in James Vaughan and Jason Steele for around £500,000 each, Everton winger Aidan McGeady for £250,000 and two loan signings from the same club, Brendan Galloway and Tyrias Browning.
He will complete a deal for free agent goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter later today, meaning six players will have been added to the squad at a cost of £1.25million, while the Black Cats have so far recouped close to £40million from the sales of Jordan Pickford, Vito Mannone and Fabio Borini.
In contrast, fellow relegated side Middlesbrough have spent more than £42million on new players this summer, including £15million on striker Britt Assombalonga, while Wolves have also spent £15million on Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves.
Grayson, speaking to BBC Five Live, admitted: "It's common knowledge there isn't a great deal of money to spend.
"It's a decent enough budget, but it's still way short of a lot of clubs who are in and around us at this moment in time.
"You only have to look at the players we've brought in so far that none have been significant signings where the rivals who have come down have spent a huge sum of money.
"What I'm trying to do, between myself and the chief executive Martin Bain, is to try to get this club some sort of stability again, where we don't have to do it for millions of pounds, that you can do it on a lesser budget.
"We are trying to bring some pride back in the football club because in the last few years it has been in a dark place and mismanaged on many fronts.
"We're trying to put smiles back on the faces of everyone and give this football club a fantastic opportunity to move forward again."