United went down 1-0 to Dean Smith’s Villa, with club-record signing Ollie Watkins scoring a diving header to secure the win.
It was a first opportunity for Solskjaer to take a closer look at new signing Van de Beek, who signed in a £40million deal from Ajax.
And Solskjaer liked what he saw from the Netherlands international.
‘Donny [Van de Beek] was maybe the biggest plus in the outfield,’ said Solskjaer.
‘He’s such a finder of space and he creates time for himself with his timing and movement. I was very happy with his performance.’
Assessing his side’s performance in general, he added: ‘In the first half, I thought we played some good stuff and created chances.
‘The most important thing is valuable minutes because this pre-season is such a strange and different one for us.
‘We need to be more clinical, we need to score those goals because then you go home happy. Then again, the result wasn’t the main thing.
‘And especially in the second half, you saw Teden [Mengi] when he came on, how exciting a prospect he is.
‘I spoke to him [Ethan Galbraith] after the game and he knows a couple of times he gets caught on the ball but that’s the learning he needs. That’s going to make him, next time he’s on the pitch, be ready for it.’
Man Utd XI vs Aston Villa
Henderson, Dalot, Fosu-Mensah, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Van de Beek, Lingard, Rashford, James, Ighalo
United were without Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes and Solskjaer is hoping to get some of his key players back ready for the season opener against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
‘We expect more of them to be match fit,’ added Solskjaer.
‘The international players who didn’t travel today have had the minutes they needed [in the Nations League], some of them, and we’ll get a few more back.’