Medy Elito latched on to an Adebayo Azeez flick-on before being felled by Torquay right back Dale Tonge to win a 67th-minute penalty, which he took himself and scored.
The defeat leaves Torquay eight points adrift of safety with three games remaining and a Devon derby trip to Exeter on Monday in the offing.
Burnett said: "The players knew they didn't play well last week and they gave a real response today and I am proud of every one of them.
"We have to keep going right to the very end, I said to the players that we have to respect the other teams who are either fighting for promotion or fighting off relegation.
"I thought it was quite an even game. They looked most likely to score from a set piece. They had one or two chances but our goalkeeper wasn't really troubled that much.
"You come away, and are playing a side are fighting for their lives, no game is easy now and Torquay kept going and going."
Burnett was delighted with Elito's decisive action.
He added: "Medy is sharp around the box and you give him a yard that's what you get. I thought it was a penalty, he's despatched it and it's given us the victory."