But speaking at the party's conference he rejected the criticism.
He told BBC 1's The Andrew Marr Show: "I'm not running out of road, there's a lot of road ahead" despite admitting it was "improbable" he would be leading the party by 2022.
The former business secretary's "slow-motion resignation" has caused unease among some colleagues after Sir Vince insisted he would stay on until Brexit is "resolved or stopped", and hoped to lead the party into local elections next May.
Pressure increased on the ex-Cabinet minister after former leader Lord Menzies Campbell said Sir Vince "can see the end of the road".
Asked if he would still be party leader by the end of next year, Sir Vince said: "I think that's uncertain.
"I have a series of tasks to do. I'm going to do them.
"I'm not setting a time horizon.
"I think it would be foolish to do so with so much uncertainty flying around."
Pressed on being at the helm at the time of the next slated general election in 2022, he said: "2022 is a long time off, I think it's improbable, actually, that I will be leading us then."
Lord Campbell told the Daily Mirror: "You know when you've run out of road.
"I think he can see the end of the road.
"He's given it his best shot.
"He has brought stability, which was necessary."
Sir Vince said the Lib Dems were talking to disillusioned Labour and Tory MPs, but he insisted setting up a new party "is not going to happen". It came as senior figures in the Lib Dems have clashed over the party's record in office with the Tories.
Deputy leader Jo Swinson used a key note conference speech to admit the party "lost too many arguments" in coalition and had agreed to compromises that "sucked".
But just hours later former energy secretary Sir Ed Davey was defending the party's record – telling journalists in the conference media room he was "deeply, deeply proud" of his achievements during that period.
Sir Ed also struck a different tone to Ms Swinson on Windrush – with the former saying "no one realised" how the Immigration Bill would impact on people, while the latter said the party "should have done more to stop Theresa May's hostile environment".
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