Isaac Mbenza cancelled out Scott McTominay’s first-half opener for United, who twice hit the crossbar through Paul Pogba.
“Effort and attitude was not the problem,’ Solskjaer said. ‘The players were running and trying. We just weren’t good enough. That is the problem.
‘We could have, should have, played better. In the first half an hour they weren’t close to our box once. Today we had good periods, very bad periods. It has just caught up with us. It is a fair reflection, being sixth.’
United’s winless run was extended to five matches in all competitions and Solskjaer was left to rue several missed opportunities for them to rescue their season.
‘We gave ourselves a chance to be in the Champions League, something we didn’t think was possible,’ he said.
‘We had so many opportunities to grab third or fourth. We weren’t able to. So it’s probably the right place for us, the Europa League, next year.
‘And if (Manchester) City don’t win the FA Cup we’ll have a very early and bright start (in the) qualifiers for the Europa League and that just might make it even more difficult.’
Solskjaer was referring to the possibility of his side having to play in a Europa League qualifier should Watford beat City in the FA Cup final.
A Watford win at Wembley would send them straight into the Europa League group stage and leave United facing a qualifying match on July 25, the same day they are scheduled to play Tottenham in a pre-season friendly in Shanghai.
For a club obsessed with their commercial appeal, the prospect of their summer tour of Asia being undermined will be most bothersome.
For Solskjaer, the most pressing concern will be the threat early Europa League involvement poses to next season. Solskjaer called them a “tired” team after this pitiful display. With fitness an enduring issue, how do they expect to cope with potentially playing six Europa League qualifying ties in as many weeks?
‘You can use the Europa League as something positive as Chelsea and Arsenal have done this year and we did a couple of years ago when we won it.
‘I’m an optimist by nature and you make the most of it. We have to make something positive out of it’ Solskjaer said .