United had more shots at their own goalkeeper than at City's during a comprehensive 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford on Saturday, and Solskjaer was left to accept that the November international break has come at a good time for his team following a run of just four wins from their past 12 games.
"It is very disappointing, and it feels like after last week we have made a step or two forward results-wise and then a big step backwards," Solskjaer said after the game.
"It is a way of losing that we don't like. When you lose a game against a good team, you want to see a better Man United team than that."
Asked whether he is still confident he can turn things around after a poor run of form, Solskjaer was bullish, responding: "Yes, definitely."
United don't play again until Nov. 20, when they face Watford at Vicarage Road, and Solskjaer wasted no time in issuing a challenge to his players to respond to the set-back against City.
"We are human beings, and when you lose a game of football, there is no better feeling than winning a game," he said.
"Hopefully, the ones that go away do that, and for us it is all about Watford.
"We have to come out against Watford like a proper hurt animal. The short answer is it has come at a good time for us. As a group, we have had a difficult spell. We have come through it, but this was a big step backwards."
Asked afterward why he didn't make any substitutions in any effort to score more goals, City manager Pep Guardiola said pointedly that he believed his team were already in total control.
"I am so demanding, we are so demanding for ourselves, but I am very pleased. This is the game we needed," he said.
"They [Manchester United] are so dangerous. That is why we had a game with a lot of control.
"We played the game we needed today. You have to play quick to move the ball and do the touches every player need but also try to put the ball in the pocket.
"The game was 2-0 and everything was comfortable."