United currently sit second in the Premier League table, but sit 15 points off leaders Man City following a relentless 21-game winning streak for Pep Guardiola's side.
The Red Devils are currently the best of the also-rans, but realistically need to strengthen at centre-back and up front - with Erling Haaland a target - if they are to entertain thoughts of a serious title challenge next season.
United have not beaten a traditional 'big six' rival in the League since a 2-0 derby victory over City almost a year ago. Solskjaer knows there remains work to do if they are to bring success back to the club, but the coronavirus-shaped backdrop has impacted things.
"It's definitely affecting everyone in football, the pandemic," he said. "Of course the lack of income, the finances that have affected everyone and it might affect us all well.
"We have to be realistic, we have to be responsible in the way we do our business both on and off the pitch.
"There's improvements on the training ground, stadium. We just have to look at the whole picture.
"Where can we spend the money? And how much is there? It's just the real world now. It has changed."
Asked if it becomes extra difficult to rebuild when you do not have what you normally have available, Solskjaer said: "You can look at it different ways (with a) rebuild.
"We also have players in the academy that we now can maybe give opportunities to.
"Of course, all clubs in the world are going through the same situation so it's no different for other clubs than for us.
"I think there's just going to be less and less transfers happening in the world of football until this changes."
United left their transfer business until late last summer, with free agent Edinson Cavani arriving on deadline day on a contract until the end of the season with the option of a further year.
The 34-year-old striker's future remains unclear beyond the end of this campaign and talk about a long-term solution continues, with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland regularly linked.
"We're always looking to improve our squad, of course we are," Solskjaer said.
"I would never ever start to think the way you think on Edinson turning 35 next year because he's just turned 34.
"You and I have different mentalities - that's a completely different way of thinking.
"And I always say that Mason (Greenwood), Anthony (Martial), Edinson... when we can really get them really firing that means we're a very good team.
"But we're always looking at better players, of course we are."
Additional reporting by PA.